Political Links: What's buzzing online in political news (June 23)

Teenage blogger Amos Yee's mother brought him to the Institute of Mental Health to see a psychiatrist on April 3. But after two sessions, the 16-year-old refused to go anymore, it was revealed in court on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW&n
A doctor found that teenage blogger Amos Yee may be suffering from autism spectrum disorder. -- ST FILE PHOTO

The ST Political Desk's round-up of what's buzzing online in political news.

Amos Yee

Much of the online chatter on Tuesday centred on 16-year-old blogger Amos Yee, who was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks after a doctor found that he may be suffering from autism spectrum disorder. 

Yee was found guilty on May 12 of making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians in a video which criticised Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, as well as for uploading an obscene image with the faces of Mr Lee and former British premier Margaret Thatcher superimposed on it

After news of Yee's remand broke, political scientist Derek da Cunha wrote on Facebook - without naming any names - "One thing should now be apparent to bloggers and other netizens: You can go online to pull any stunt, saying the most extreme and controversial things at the most indelicate time so as to defame others and cause hurt to them. Yes, all of that will get you an audience, perhaps a few laughs, and even some name recognition. But none of that will indicate what is far more cherished in any society – dignity and personal honour."

Other online commenters focused on a statement issued by a United Nations agency on Monday calling for Yee's immediate release. The Bangkok-based Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had urged the Singapore government to review his conviction and asked that prosecutors drop their demand for Yee to be sentenced to a stint at the Reformative Training Centre (RTC).

Former Nominated MP Calvin Cheng said: "The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights should not be asking us to release Amos Yee. We are not a signatory of the UN declaration of human rights, a treaty that LKY wisely refused to sign and our Government still refuses to do so."

Retired police officer and PAP grassroots leader Lionel de Souza also wrote in a Facebook post: "UN stop interfering in Singapore's domestic affairs. And also stop championing the cause of an incorrigible dissident and rebel without a cause. Why doesn't the UN publicly condemn the atrocities of the ISIS?"

Others spoke up in defence of the UN OHCHR. A Straits Times reader Jing Yi Teo commented: "UN is trying to stop wars, they have also done a lot of humanitarian work in war-torn areas such as the Central African Republic, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, South Sudan and so on, just that it is not reported. But what can they do when members ignore them and act in their own selfish ways for their own benefit?"

More design flaws in new flats?

Following a spate of complaints about Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats, The Online Citizen (TOC) has flagged another new DBSS project - Pasir Ris One - that has been criticised by its residents for shoddy workmanship and potential safety hazards.

Based on TOC's own measurements, the width of the common corridor in one of the development's blocks is exactly 1.2m wide, which is the minimum width for a clear escape passage according to the Singapore Civil Defence Force. The socio-political site also uploaded a video stating that the width of Pasir Ris One's corridors appears to be narrower than that in a block of one-room rental flats. 

Reform Party campaign plan

The Reform Party (RP) issued a media statement with its campaign plan late Monday night titled SG50: It's Time For Reform

The RP has proposed a basic pension of $500 a month for all senior citizens aged 65 and above, and also suggested giving families monthly payouts of $300 for each child aged below 18, as a step towards reversing Singapore's low birth rates. It also said in the statement that it wants to waive Medishield Life premiums for those aged above 65 and below 16, to mandate free education for children up to 18 years old, and to provide free university or polytechnic education to those who have served National Service.

But some commenters on The Straits Times' Facebook page have questioned the viability of the party's plan, questioning where the extra spending will come from and saying that the populist handouts will make Singapore bankrupt like Greece or could engender an entitlement complex among Singaporeans.