Several flags with People’s Action Party (PAP) logo have been spotted at the roadside of Marine Crescent soon after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for the general election (GE) yesterday (23 June) but ahead of Nomination Day which will only be on 30 June next Tuesday.
TOC was alerted by its correspondent earlier today (24 June) who shared a series of images of PAP flags – taken at around 7pm yesterday – being put up in the area.
It is interesting to note that the PAP Community Foundation Marine Parade Education Centre – which founded by the PAP – is also situated at Marine Cres. But it is a long distance away from where the flags are, as seen in the map below.
“Again as during 2011 and 2015 elections, PAP jumped the gun and display flags before nomination day,” said the correspondent.
In the photos, the flags were seen being put up by individuals who do not seem to be the members of PAP.
According to the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations, any form of election advertising – such as the display of flags, buntings, ensign or standard – in a public place will be subject to a permit issued by the Returning Officer during the campaign period.
The “campaign period”, in relation to an election, is defined as the period “beginning with the closure of the place of nomination on nomination day [and] ending with the start of the eve of the polling day of that election”.
Nevertheless, this is not the first time that the PAP flags were seen in public places before the Nomination Day of an election.
Back in 2011, netizens questioned on the rules for political parties to display their flags before Nomination Day, after several PAP flags were spotted in several estates in Bukit Batok, Woodlands, Hougang, Toa Payoh and Kovan.
While in 2015, an individual who goes by the name Chow C Y penned on All Singapore Stuff that the PAP was “in breach of the Parliamentary Elections Act” over the display of their flags before the election.
According to the Black Dot Research’s report, Mr Chow may be referring to letters from two contributors on All Singapore Stuff who claimed that they spotted PAP flags being put up in Tampines and along Owen Road.
In his article, he cited a netizen’s letter to the Elections Department (ELD) in 2011 that questioned whether it is legal for the PAP to display the flag before the campaign period.
In response, ELD said that the rules relating to the display of posters and banners under the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations do not apply at this time as the campaign period has not commenced.
When ELD was further questioned by the netizen, it replied: “As long as the display of flags are not for election activity , i.e. advertising for the purpose of procuring the election of any candidate, they can display the flags as long as they comply with current regulations of the premise owners where the flags are to be planted.”
Now, ELD stated that the display of flags is permitted as long as it is “not for election activity”, but in this case where the Writ of Election has already been issued yesterday, isn’t it clear that PAP flags displayed at Marine Cres are for the election campaign?