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Response to Media Queries on Arrests of Two Singaporeans who Staged a Protest in MOM

In response to media queries, Police confirm the arrests of two Singapore citizens, Seelan Palay and Chong Kai Xiong. At about 12 pm, the two entered the premises of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to stage a protest against the non-renewal of the work permits of some Myanmar nationals. They repeatedly defied orders from MOM's security personnel to leave the premises. The Police were then called in for assistance against their trespass. The Police arrested them and are investigating them for the offence of criminal trespass. The two have since been released on bail.

2.   The media has also inquired about MOM's decision not to renew the work permits of a few Myanmar nationals. The many Myanmar nationals who work, study or reside in Singapore are welcomed.  They are also free to organise and express their political views so long as these are pursued within the framework of our laws. This position applies to all foreigners living in Singapore. We similarly expect no less of Singaporeans when they go overseas and live in other countries.  

3.   A handful of Myanmar nationals here however has decided not to observe this basic obligation of respecting the laws of the land and the local sensitivities of its people. They have shown in their actions and attitude a wilful disregard and contempt for the law and the Singapore authorities. In fact, some of them who have acted in this manner, notwithstanding their having benefited from education subsidies and the hospitality of Singaporeans, even demand the right to stay in Singapore as if it is a matter of their personal entitlement. They threaten to lobby political pressure through the media and agitate foreign public opinion against the authorities so as to compel them to concede to their demands. These persons are not welcomed in Singapore. They should leave Singapore once their existing passes expire. They are free to leave for any country of their choice or any country which will have them.

4.   Our laws apply equally to every person. No one is allowed to break the law with impunity regardless of how morally superior he thinks his cause is.

The above statement is jointly issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM).