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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 22 September 2007

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Cancellation of licence for public lecture by Prof Emeritus Douglas Sanders


Oral Answer to Parliamentary Question on the reasons for cancellation of the licence for a public lecture on 7 Aug by Professor Emeritus Douglas Sanders

Mr Baey Yam Keng:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs
(a) what are the reasons for the change in assessment of the permit for Professor Emeritus Douglas Sanders' public lecture after the permit was previously approved; and
(b) what is the number of similar cancellations of approved permits in the past five years and what are the main reasons for their cancellation.
Mr Siew Kum Hong:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs
(a) why was a public entertainment licence initially granted for a public lecture on 7 August 2007 by Professor Emeritus Douglas Sanders; and
(b) what circumstances had changed to result in the cancellation of the licence.
Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee:
Police assesses each application for a public entertainment licence carefully based on the information available.
After approving a license, Police will continue to monitor developments. There may be circumstances under which Police may re-assess the application and cancel the public entertainment license if necessary, for public safety, good order or public interest reasons.
In the case of the public lecture on 7 August, after careful deliberation, Police assessed that the event was contrary to the public interest and cancelled the license for the event.
This was because it became subsequently clear to Police that the event was part of the efforts of gay activists to promote their political agenda which involved a foreigner.
Our laws are an expression and reflection of the values of our society and any public discourse in Singapore on such matters should be reserved for Singaporeans.
Foreigners will not be allowed to interfere in our domestic political scene, whether in support of the gay cause or against it.
There has been no similar cancellation of a licence granted for talks by foreign speakers in the past 5 years. This is because Police is usually able to make a decision whether to approve or reject a licence application based on the information available.
It was only in the case of the public lecture by Professor Emeritus Douglas Sanders that Police decided to cancel the licence based on additional information which subsequently came to its knowledge.

Source: News 18 Sep 2007

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