The party flags of People’s Action Party (PAP) at the roadside of Marine Crescent which were earlier put up “as part of National Day celebrations” have been removed, observed TOC’s correspondent on Saturday (11 July).
TOC earlier reported that PAP flags were being put up along Marine Crescent at around 7pm on 23 June, the same day where the date of election was announced.
After the report was made, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) filed a request with the Elections Department (ELD) over the display of party flags.
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 period of campaigning by political parties for the July 10 General Election (GE) has not started. For now, the display of posters and banners is governed by other legislation such as the Town Councils Act.
A brief look at the Town Councils Act seems to suggest that the act is completely silent on the display of flags and banners. What other legislation is the ELD talking about if the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations do not apply at the time?
According to Today Online’s report, a volunteer at the Marine Parade PAP branch office, who declined to be named, said that the flags put up are “within the branch perimeters”.
The volunteer told TODAY the PAP flags were put up “as part of National Day celebrations” — something which has been done every year “for the past 20 to 30 years”. There are plans to add to the 11 flags currently being displayed, said the volunteer, who added that the flags may be displayed for a longer period of time this year because “National Day celebrations are extended”.
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.
But with the immediate removal of the flags following the polling day, seems to suggest that the flags were put up for the purpose of the GE.
So did PAP violate the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations by putting up the flags or not? Can we depend on ELD under the Prime Minister’s Office to be an independent agency to ensure the election is held in equal and fair manner?