Mr Ravi Philemon, director of an non-governmental organisation, has filed a report with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) over the use of the premises of a home for the aged by the People’s Action Party (PAP) for a political purpose.
On Friday, 14 August, the PAP held a press conference in the premises of the home to introduce its candidates for Sembawang GRC for the upcoming general elections.
The event was headed by the chairman of the PAP, Khaw Boon Wan, who incidentally is also the Minister of National Development.
Mr Philemon had pointed out on the same day that it was unusual for such an event to be held at such a venue.
He noted on his blog that “most VWOs’ Constitutions specify that such organisations shall not indulge in any political activity or allow its funds and/or premises to be used for political purposes.”
“Is this clause also specified in SWAMI Home’s Constitution?” he asked. “If so, did SWAMI Home contravene its own Constitution by allowing its premises to be used for political purposes?
“The introduction of PAP candidates who will contest in Sembawang GRC in the next General Election is clearly a political activity,” he added.
The Online Citizen (TOC) later obtained a copy of the SWAMI Home constitution from the Registry of Societies and indeed clause 22.6 of its rules state that:
“The Society shall not indulge in any political activity or allow its funds and/or premises to be used for political purposes.”
In his letter to the Registrar, Mr Philemon said:
“I ask that the Registrar investigate if the society had breached its own constitution by allowing a political activity to take place in its premises.”
Mr Philemon, who is the Singapore Director of Operation Hope Foundation, told TOC:
“I made the report to the Registrar because I wanted him to be aware that a society had contravened its Constitution. I believe that it is important for welfare organisations to remain apolitical.”