A police report has been filed against former ambassador-at-large Bilahari Kausikan over a Facebook post he made on Cooling-off Day (9 July) in which he rebuked the new member of Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Lee Hsien Yang.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang, who is the estranged brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, had joined the PSP on 24 June but did not run for this year’s General Election (GE) as he believes that “Singapore does not need another Lee”.
During the GE’s Cooling-off Day, Mr Bilahari took to Facebook claiming that Mr Lee Hsien Yang “eloquently attacks” the system he has benefited from as he was prevented by PM Lee from monetizing the 38 Oxley Road property – which initially bequeathed to PM Lee.
He also questioned the son of late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) intention for joining the politics, adding that his reason for not contesting in the GE was “hollow” and the move was “cowardly”.
In the comments, Mr Bilahari had told readers that LHY had bought the house at SGD$1 – which was not true and he had apologised for this mistake.
Following that, a Singapore citizen lodged a police report against Mr Bilahari on polling day (10 July) at the Tanglin Division Police HQ. The citizen alleged his post had sought to “influence the public on election partisan politics”.
Following Dr Lee Weiling’s Facebook post to decry the allegations made against her younger brother, Mr Bilahari wrote a comment to state that he stands corrected and apologise for the mistake.
ELD has yet taken any actions against Bilahari Kausikan over his Facebook post during Cooling-off Day
Cooling-off Day was designated to give voters time to “reflect rationally on various issues raised during the election campaigning period” before they head to the polls, thus all campaigning activities and election advertising are prohibited during Cooling-off Day.
According to a statement released by the Elections Department (ELD) on 8 July, knowingly publishing any new election advertising in any electoral division, or making changes to any existing election advertising is prohibited on Cooling-off Day and Polling Day.
“Caution should also be exercised not to publish Internet election advertising close to midnight prior to Cooling-off Day, which may result in the display of such advertising on Cooling-off Day itself,” it stated.
Election advertising refers to any material that can reasonably be regarded as intended to otherwise enhance the standing of any such political parties, or to prejudice the standing with the electorate of other political parties.
ELD states, “Such material shall be election advertising even though it can be reasonably regarded as intended to achieve any other purpose as well and even though it does not expressly mention the name of any political party or candidate, subject to certain exclusions.”
Considering that Mr Lee Hsien Yang is famously known as a member of PSP after he made headlines for joining the opposition party on 24 June, this could mean that Mr Bilahari’s attack against him online during the Cooling-off Day is also an attack on PSP’s standing in the GE.
The ELD which is under the Prime Minister’s Office, however, has not issued any statement or taken any actions against Mr Bilahari at the time of writing.