GE2020 was marked this time around with a number of police reports lodged by parties and citizens alike over various things from damaged campaign posters to statements made by various candidates and alleged falsehoods.
For some of these reports, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) released statements confirming that they were indeed filed. However, there are others which the SPF didn’t directly address, leaving on social media postings and screenshots showing the reports.
In total, we counted 13 reports filed during the campaign period until the Polling Day, 30 June to 10 July.
1 & 2 July 2020
The campaign period started off with a few police reports filed over damaged election posters. There were quite a few of these by both the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP)
On 1 July, a report was filed by the PAP over one of the damage of their election posters in the area of Hougang Avenue 10. Just a day later, the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) lodged a similar police report about their damaged election posters along Bukit Batok Avenue 5 and Hougang Ave 10.
The SPF said in a statement that a 51-year old and a 13-year old were being investigated for those two separate cases.
4 & 5 July July 2020
Another poster related police report was filed by the PAP on 4 July over damaged election posters in Woodlands Street 13. This time, a 48-year old man was arrested for allegedly damaging those posters.
There were also reports made against several candidates who were running in the election. Two reports were filed, on 4 and 5 July, against Workers’ Party (WP)’s Raeesah Khan who stood for election and won in Sengkang GRC. The report alleged that she made comments on her social media pages a while back which promoted enmity between different racial and religious groups. Investigations are ongoing.
The SPF said investigations are ongoing.
6 July 2020
Following this, a citizen lodged a report against the PAP’s statement about Ms Khan. A citizen on Facebook revealed on Monday (6 July) that he has filed this report to “hold the PAP accountable for an ‘offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race under Section 298A of the Penal Code’ as well as the spreading of online falsehoods.”
On this, the SPF released a statement to say that no offence was found after consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
7 July 2020
Another report also arose from this specifically against a Facebook user who claimed to be one of the first people to “leak” Ms Khan’s earlier social media comments which are now the subject of a police investigation. SPF confirmed on 7 July that reports were filed against the Facebook user who goes by “Abdul Malik Mohammed Ghazali” on the platform.
“The Police are looking into the alleged offences of posting comments on social media with deliberate intent to wound religious or racial feelings under Section 298 of the Penal Code and harassment under Section 4 of the Protection from Harassment Act,” the SPF asserted.
Police investigations are currently ongoing.
Separately on a similar allegation as that made against Ms Khan, another report was lodged on 7 July against PAP’s Heng Swee Keat—who contested and won in East Coast GRC—in relation to his response to a question posed to him at a student’s forum in 2019 at Nanyang Technology University where he said that he doesn’t think Singapore is ready for a non-Chinese Prime Minister.
However in this case, the SPF said that the Attorney-General’s Chambers advice was that no offence was committed and that Mr Heng’s remarks, in context, “do not evidence any intent to wound anyone’s racial feelings or promote enmity between different races.”
On 7 July, a police report was filed against PAP’s Ong Ye Kung for allegedly abetting a primary school child to participate in election activity. This was in relation to a video he had earlier shared on Facebook of him talking to a boy in school uniform. The video was taken down on 2 July after Mr Ong was informed by authorities that it is not in line with electoral rules.
The person who filed the report told TOC that the police informed him that they have begun investigations in to the matter.
PSP also lodged another poster damage police report on 8 July, this time over posters in Jurong West Street 92.
On the same day, a report was filed against PAP’s Bukit Batok SMC candidate over alleged falsehood made in a video in which Mr Pillai talked about a “scurrilous attack” against his family.”
The report alleged that there was no evidence of any video to have surfaced which “attacked” Mr Pillai’s son’s criminal history as he has said in the video. As such, the report alleged, “there is reason to believe that Murali Pillai contravened the POFMA act. He has spread fakenews based on falsehood.”
Also on 8 July, The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu filed a police report against a commentary Facebook page Critical Spectator on Tuesday (7 July), over its posts made in relation to the ongoing General Election (GE), citing foreign intervention. In the report it was noted that Michael Petraeus is the man behind the Facebook page and that he is a Polish national.
After the report was filed, Facebook unpublished the Critical Spectator page from its platform.
10 July 2020
On 10 July, a police report was lodged by a citizen against former ambassador-at-large Bilahari Kausikan over a Facebok post he made on Cooling Off Day (9 July) in which he rebuked PSP’s Lee Hsien Yang, who is the younger son of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The report alleged that the post sought to “influence the public on election partisan politics”.