Debate on controversial issues should be led by S'poreans

The changes announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding foreign participation in events held at the Speakers' Corner are timely ("Foreign entities need permits at Speakers' Corner"; last Saturday).

Discussion and debate on controversial social and political issues should be led primarily by Singaporeans.

After all, the consequences of any resulting decisions will be chiefly borne by us.

Foreign companies based in Singapore are free to set their own internal policies.

However, they should not be actively involved in public advocacy concerning matters which could sow divisions among Singaporeans.

As our social attitudes evolve, public opinion on controversial issues might change in the future.

In the meantime, the Government is wise in ensuring that foreign entities, which may hail from countries with very different political and social conditions, do not exert undue influence over this process.

Dhevarajan Devadas

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2016, with the headline 'Debate on controversial issues should be led by S'poreans'. Print Edition | Subscribe