A picture of a traffic officer approaching a driver waiting along a stretch marked with double yellow lines along Prinsep Street circulating online.

Netizens question double standard on President Halimah’s convoy which parked along double yellow lines

Singapore Police Force (SPF) in a response to a forum letter posted by Lianhe Zaobao on 28 December, states that it is an offence to park on double yellow line. Public dicussion was raging in regards to the lack of summons issued for cars belonging to President Halimah Yacob’s convoy, waiting along double yellow lines earlier December last year.

Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SPF had released a joint statement earlier, saying that LTA enforcement officer was conducting his routine patrol along Prinsep Street on 20 December when he noticed two vehicles waiting along a stretch marked with double yellow lines.

The authorities stated that the officer approached the vehicle to ask the driver to drive off, and the driver informed the LTA enforcement officer that he was there to pick up the President who was leaving the place. In the midst of the conversation, the President arrived and the driver drove off and that no summons were issued.

The author of the letter in Lianhe Zaobao, Long Jidong, wrote that the officers did not abide by traffic regulations, saying that they should be given summons.

In his letter which was published on Thursday (28 December), he wrote, “It is against the law to park double yellow lines to obstruct traffic. Drivers of public sector vehicles should set an example by not stopping on the double yellow line.”

The Police responded, stating that officers from the Police Security Command, as well as other Police Officers will seek to observe traffic rules and regulations.  However, there will be occasions when they may have to exercise their discretion, and make exceptions.

SPF said, for example, that the official vehicles may need to be in close proximity to the event location for security reasons and to facilitate quick evacuation.

“When responding to law enforcement situations, Police vehicles often have to be parked in locations which enable swift, effective operations. And often, if there is no easily accessible car park, (which fit the right security profile) then, so as not to expose the person under protection, the vehicles will be driven near to the place where it is suitable to arrange a pick up, even if otherwise parking in such a place is not allowed,” the Police said.

It then said that police officers will assess the situation, including public safety, when making these decisions as they are trained to do so.

Many netizens commented on the issue, saying that the driver should have been given a traffic summon.

Winson Kang wrote, “I dropped my mum along the double yellow lane and accompany her to the building as she cannot walk properly and I got $100 fine. This is the legal system that only if you are Presidents or the White Elites, then you are excused.”

Alvin Teo wrote, “When discretion comes into play. Double standard follows behind.”

Benson Tan wrote, “I bet you when its a WP MP’s car that needs to be nearby for a quick evacuation, sure issue summon. Not only that, confirm will publish on STOMP.”

Maurice Oh Jr wrote, “The President should just issue a statement to say that her driver broke the laws of the road and will pay the fine.
That will put things right and many will come out to support her even more!”

Keith Low wrote, “If the risk is so great that needs immediate evacuation during that particular “outing”, are the officers not trained to abort it? If it pose no danger to the President, can’t she walk a bit? As PM has said, walk more to reduce risk of diabetes.”

Vincent Ng wrote, “My understanding is that when the president is on official duty n there will be a presidential crest put up at the front of the Car. However, there isn’t in this situation. It means the president is either not using the car or she is running her own errands.”

Toh Yiu Kwong wrote, “There must be laws that all motorists abide and follow with. No one should be above the law and the president is no exception. If the president’s car has committed a traffic offence, it is only proper that a summon is issued otherwise what is the law for when the privileged can have rules bent to “make exceptions”?
In my opinion there’s travesty of justice and since the government prides itself on doing the incorruptible, then the offender should be brought to justice otherwise it’s one rule for the masters in society and another for the less privileged.”

John Jads wrote, “If it is offence to park along double yellow line for safety reason, then the Convoy should be fined. What if by parking along double yellow line causes a major chained accident along prinsep?
That’s even true being a role model convoy, comparing to any other convoy. Our late LKY once say nobody is above the law. Hence President Mdm Halimah Yacob, could you have that convoy to pay for that fine.
The system should be just and not have preferential special treatment for special officers , MPs or Tom Dick, Harry and even Tan Ah Kow misabusing it. Thank You!”

Ahlimah Bengalore wrote, “Doublelinedouble standards. It’s not called discretion. Even Australian PM was recently fined for not wearing life vest on a boat. That’s what I called integrity. And you wonder why there is no trust in the policy makers.”

Nelson Poon wrote, “Please. For security reasons, the President should also wear bullet-proof vest, and a Kevlar helmet too. Stop giving us cock and bull excuses. Security reasons is not an excuse to flout the law. The law IS the law and even the President and his driver should follow it.”

Bee Kwan wrote, “They need to update the highway code. It say no parking at all times. My English teacher taught us when we use the word ALL it means absolute, 100 percent. Maybe they should change it to at most times however if you are a VIP or a selected few this traffic rules and regulation does not applies.”

Liu Felix wrote, “Don’t think this can be compared to the emergency department. It’s more a case of left hand not talking to right hand. Why didn’t security team simply inform LTA in advance? What scared that LTA is not as reliable?”

However, some stated that people should look at the case and it should be ok for the president to park in the area.

Jason Ho wrote, “When people become overly stupid to compare civilian illegal parking to official security protocols. Especially when the police, fire engine and ambulance need to find a proper parking lot before saving someone life. Keyboard warrior at their greatest stupidity.”

Chia Choong Kita wrote, “There is no double standard. This is an exception. Does it mean ambulance also cannot stop? Does it mean police car also cannot stop when on duty?”

Parumeswaran Muniardy wrote, “The driver already informed the warden about the situation. The warden should call up his officer in charge for further action. This involve president vehicle. Also this wardens must trained in this kind of situations and not make it a big issue.”

Phillip Lim wrote, “Though personally do not support this Halimah as “elected” president.
But like it or not, she is sitting in this position. And all heads of state should be accorded the special privileges, for reasons e.g prestige, security, etc. I believe her driver should be allowed to park there for a specific reason.
The Yishun HDB saga is already one big joke and wayang. Please do not create any more.”