Police investigate foreigners participation in rally against Singapore-India free trade

The Singapore Police Force said on Friday that it received a report on November 8 that a foreigner had participated in the assembly, Channel News Asia reported.

Singapore police are investigating a report that a foreigner participated in a rally organised by a local activist against the government’s immigration policies and the free trade agreement between India and Singapore.

Singaporean activist Gilbert Goh had organised the demonstration against the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) at the Speakers Corner in Hong Lim Park on November 3.

A police permit is needed if foreigners are involved in the organisation or participate in an event at the Speakers Corner. According to the Public Order (Unrestricted Area) Order 2016, organisers must be a Singaporean and must ensure that only Singapore citizens or permanent residents take part in the rally.

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The Singapore Police Force said on Friday that it received a report on November 8 that a foreigner had participated in the assembly, Channel News Asia reported.

Singaporeans can organise assemblies at the Speakers Corner without the need for a permit but must ensure that only Singapore citizens or permanent residents of Singapore participate in the assembly. Police investigations are ongoing, a police officer said.

The rally, participated by about 300-400 Singaporeans, was organised after a video went viral in which an India-origin man, Ramesh Erramalli, was shown lashing out at an elderly local security guard at his condominium complex late last month.

Also Read: Overcome outstanding issues to get India into RCEP, says Singapore minister

Police later said that Erramalli from India obtained Singapore citizenship on the sponsorship of his wife, who is a local-born Singapore citizen.

The incident outraged many Singaporeans who expressed dissatisfaction with CECA. Goh, who organised the protest, in a Facebook post for the event, said CECA would sideline many Singaporeans.

“Singaporeans, it is time to stand up for your rights to a reasonably good job in our own country – we must always adhere to the Singaporean-first slogan and that employment must be given to a local first before we ever consider a foreigner,” Goh
said.

Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on November 9 said that the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India does not grant Indian nationals unconditional access to Singapore or its immigration privileges.

He said that the claims that the agreement has cost job opportunities for Singaporeans were aimed to stoke fears in times of economic uncertainties.

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