Today Online
Derrick A Paulo and Christie Loh
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Professor Walden Bello, the Philippines-based executive director of advocacy group Focus on the Global South, said: "I plead with the Singapore Government not to interfere with the event, because it has nothing to do with Singapore. This is a sort of dialogue between the Fund, the Bank and their critics. The best way that the Singapore Government can act is to facilitate the dialogue instead of repressing one side of it."
But the soft-spoken professor and the fiery Ms Nacpil may not get to state their case here. Today understands that the groups they represent are among the CSOs that the Singapore authorities have misgivings about. Although they are accredited, like Mr Donatus, they too may not be allowed to enter Singapore.

HE WILL be the first to admit that his travel plans keep changing by the hour.

Mr Donatus Marut, executive director of Jakarta-based International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (Infid), had lined up a hectic week. His group was to play host to almost 1,000 delegates at Batam, who were to debate the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank's policies while the two organisations held their mega-meet in Singapore. After that, he was to speak at the World Bank seminar here.

First the Batam police denied him permission to stage his "forum". After some scrambling, he got the go-ahead for that, but received another email telling him he was no longer welcome in Singapore. The IMF and World Bank had accredited him, but the Singaporean authorities objected to Infid representatives coming here, based on "law and order considerations".

Now the issue is being given an international airing as the largest event of its kind hosted by Singapore also turns out to be among the trickiest. And touchiest.

Although almost 500 civil society organisations have been accredited for the meet, Singapore has made it clear that it will keep "trouble-makers" away.

"Under the current security environment, we will be cautious about who we allow into our borders," said the Singapore police in a statement.

Apparently peeved at not getting their way, IMF/World Bank representatives wrote to Mr Donatus and several others who had been blacklisted: "(The Singaporean authorities) state that you may be stopped at Singapore Government checkpoints … We have registered our strong disagreement with this decision … The IMF and World Bank will continue to accredit you."