A police report was made against PAP candidate Murali Pillai on 8 July by a citizen named Royston Albert over the video Mr Pillai made about a “scurrilous attack” against his family.
The report, filed earlier today (8 July), referred to Mr Pillai’s Facebook video on 30 June in which he claimed that there was a “scurrilous attack” made on his family, specifically an attack on his son regarding his criminal background. It added that there was no mention of whether the post was made on social media or other platforms.
It went on to read, “He posted a video of himself explaining that the post was an attack on his son with regards to his criminal background and suggested that the post was made minutes after election was declared in the Bukit Batok SMC thereby suggesting that it was an attack to damage his candidacy and the election campaign.”
Mr Albertson continued in the report by saying that he tried to search for the video that Mr Pillai claimed was circulating but to no avail apart from a news article from years ago which talked about his son’s criminal past.
He wrote, “However, it seemed that there was perhaps no such post that attacked his family or son that was particularly being circulated on 30th June as mentioned by him. No such post appeared on any of the various local media platforms or Facebook pages. Nor was there any such post circulated via WhatsApp groups of private chats as far as I know.”
Adding that he had personally searched various media platforms and search engines for the video Mr Pillai was talking about, the man said he “did not find anything on the matter, except news about his son’s criminal past which was reported many years back which still exists online”. He added that even checks with his friends and online media Facebook pages turned up empty.
“As such, there is reason to believe that Murali Pillai contravened the POFMA act,” said the report.
“He has spread fakenews based on falsehood. In particular, he has contravened POFMA Act Part 2 Section 7(1)(a), (b), (iv) where his falsehood may have been to influence the outcome of his own election campaign, a general election of members of parliament.”
It continued, “In view of the above, I strongly urge the Singapore Police Force to investigate the authenticity of his video claims on the ‘scurrilous attack’ of his own and that to show evidence that such a post existed and that he should make a police report on that post which he claims has hurt him and is damaging his family.”
“Otherwise, he should be investigated for spreading fakenews and falsehood. I also strongly urge the POFMA agency to take this matter seriously and to thoroughly investigate Murali Pillai for his video post on his Facebook page,” the report concluded.
The video that the report mentions was posted by Mr Pillai on 30 June on his Facebook page. In it, he said that a post has been circulating online highlighting his son’s past offences, and it surfaced “minutes after election has been declared in Bukit Batok SMC” on Tuesday.
The MP, who is a lawyer, added that the timing to which the post surfaced “leaves nothing to imagination”.
The politician also stated that he is not a perfect father and all families have issues, but these should not be involved in politics.
“Yes, I’m not a perfect father. Yes, families have issues. But no, these things should not be brought into politics. I’m terribly affected by this, but I will not be deterred. I will fight on,” he said.
On the same day, Mr Pillai’s opponent in Bukit Batok SMC, Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Chee Soon Juan came forward to condemn the attack and urged people not to circulate it.
He wrote in a Facebook post, “I have just been told that there is a video circulating about Mr Murali’s family. I haven’t seen it myself but I have watched Mr Murali’s anguished response to it,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
He added, “I stand with Mr Murali on this and call on whoever who did this to stop it and for others not to circulate it”.
Curiously, on 30 June, just before Mr Pillai posted the video of himself alleging this “scurrilous attack”, someone had sent a letter to various media outlets, including TOC, which called to question Mr Pillai’s eligibility as a candidate in the election based on his son’s history.
The letter described Mr Pillai’s son’s criminal past and brushes with the law and asserted that Mr Pillai and his family should “lead by example”, urging relevant authorities to look into the matter and to ensure that citizens have a “proper leader” for their constituency.