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Did Tin Pei Ling contravene elections rule?

On 28 March 2011, the People’s Action Party (PAP) introduced one of its new candidates, Ms Tin Pei Ling, which it intends to field in the upcoming General Election.

Shortly after the formal introduction of Ms Tin at a press conference, a video of Ms Tin was made available online, on Youtube and on the PAP website.

In the video, titled “Tin Pei Ling introduction video”, Ms Tin wore a white jacket with a PAP badge on the collar.

At the end of the video, she appealed to viewers:

“My name is Tin Pei Ling and I am from the People’s Action Party.

Please vote for me.”

According to Section 83 (2) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, ( statutes.agc.gov.sg.) it is stated that:

"No person shall conduct any election activity unless he is in possession of a written authority signed by a candidate or his election agent in Form 22 or Form 23, as the case may be, in the First Schedule; and such authority shall be issued only on or after the day of nomination."

According to the Act:

… 'election activity’ includes any activity which is done for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of a candidate at any election other than clerical work wholly performed within enclosed premises.”

In other words, anyone who conducts "election activity" before nomination day would by definition not have a "written authority" and hence would be in breach of 83(2).

The Act also states:

"Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both."

Does Ms Tin’s appeal to viewers to “please vote for me” constitute an infringement of the Act?

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Note:

Form 22 is a written authorisation from a candidate addressed to the Returning Officer, Elections Dept, to authorise a named person to conduct "election activity" on the candidate's behalf.

Form 23 is a written authorisation from a candidate's election agent addressed to the Returning Officer, Elections Dept, to authorise a named person to conduct "election activity" on the candidate's behalf.

A "candidate" is defined in the PEA as "a person who is nominated as a candidate for election to any seat in Parliament". If the writ of election has not been issued, then there can be no "candidate" as defined, in which case there cannot be Form 22 or Form 23 and so there can be no person authorised to conduct "election activity".