Petition platform being explored, where 10,000 signatures guarantee ministry response
Singaporeans may soon get a new avenue to voice their concerns through a platform where petitions that garner 10,000 supporters will be submitted to the relevant ministries for review.
The Straits Times has reported that a prototype of the platform, known as PetitionsSG, has been up since January this year. Currently, petitions can be started and processed on the site, but nothing will be sent to the Government.
Senior software engineer Alwyn Tan at Open Government Products - the platform’s developer – told ST that PetitionsSG was created with the goal of empowering citizens to push for change and to connect the most important sentiments from the ground to ministries.
He was one of a team of five who worked on the project.
Open Government Products is an experimental development team within GovTech which works on technology for the public sector.
The platform at this website has instructions on the processes involved:
- - Members of the public can use it to draft a petition for a cause they feel requires the Government's attention.
- - They must then get the petition endorsed by three others, after which it will be published on the site.
- - Once published, the petition will be open for the public to read and sign, and if it receives 10,000 signatures within 180 days, it will be submitted to the ministry that oversees the issue.
- - The ministry will then have 90 days to respond.
The website says petitions that do not reach 10,000 signatures within 180 days, as well as petitions that are rejected because they received significant reports against them, will be stored in an archive available for public discourse.
The petitioner and the three endorsers must submit their names to ensure accountability and transparency. However, users supporting the petitions can sign publicly or anonymously.
The website states: "PetitionsSG offers the option to sign a petition anonymously, because we understand public civic participation in Singapore on certain topics could come with some social stigma attached.
"Open Government Products has engineered significant protections for anonymity on PetitionsSG, even in the event of a complete data breach of the platform."
It adds that these features prevent anyone, including the Government and Open Government Products, from personally identifying a user who has signed a petition anonymously.
While users log into the platform to sign petitions using their Singpass accounts to ensure the legitimacy of opinions and to prevent trolling, the website says the platform does not store data like a user's NRIC number or address.
Users who choose to sign anonymously will not have their names recorded by the platform.