When Gilbert Goh announced that he will be holding a May Day protest at Hong Lin Park, I questioned the wisdom of that. I said then that the successful protest on 16th February could be a one-time thing as the 10 weeks break between the two protests would be a problem and less people will show up on 1st May.
That might no longer be the case as the May Day protest just got a shot in the arm by, of all people, the Singapore government.
The problem started when two ministers contacted the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), a Muslim civil group, and exerted pressure due to Nizam Ismail, a director of the group who was scheduled to speak at the May Day protest. In a post on his blog, Mr. Ismail announced that he decided to quit as a board director of AMP as it had been hinted that government funds "might" be withheld from the group if he spoke at the protest. His resignation was to distance himself from AMP.
Speak about shooting yourself in the foot!
Seriously, who the hell is Nizam Ismail. No offence to the man but I never heard of him and I believe most Singaporeans have no idea who he is. He is a non-factor. So what does it matter if he speaks at the protest? Or to be exact; he was a non-factor. He is now a factor because everyone now knows the Singapore government is trying to stop him from speaking at the protest!
With his resignation and blog post, the Singapore government just gave the May Day protest a free promotion. It made the protest bigger and more important than it was. The protest is now suddenly a problem for the government, and it is a problem that the government created out of thin air.