Why is Election Department silent on pro-PAP Facebook page’s post on Polling Day?

eldUnder the Parliamentary Elections Act (PEA), “election advertising” is prohibited on Cooling-off Day and Polling Day.

That much is clear.

What is not so clear is what constitutes “election advertising”.

This was a question raised in Parliament in April 2010, when the Amendment Bill was being debated.

People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP), Ellen Lee, and then Nominated MP, Viswa Sadasivan, had both asked the Law Minister, K Shanmugam, to explain the phrase.

Ms Lee’s question is particularly relevant to the issue being raised in this article.

“The Bill does not clarify exactly what constitutes election advertising and I submit that some clarity on this will be useful,” she told the House. “For example, is expressing one’s opinion(s) on local current affairs be deemed elections advertising and thus prohibited?  How about reader’s comments on blogs and posts on online forums including “status updates”, comments on “Wall” and “photos” on Facebook?”

Do note the mention of “photos” on Facebook as this will be relevant later in this article. Continue reading “Why is Election Department silent on pro-PAP Facebook page’s post on Polling Day?”

PEA allows “transmission of personal political views on the Internet” – or does it not?

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The ongoing police investigations into the alleged Cooling-off Day breaches are puzzling for several reasons. I would like to highlight one of these here, and it is what I would argue would be at the centre of any court trial if the accused – Teo Soh Lung, Roy Ngerng, in particular – are charged.

But first, the Elections Department (ELD) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued a joint-statement on 1 June 2016, “in response to media queries”. (See here.)

That in itself is puzzling for very obvious reasons. Let us remember that it was the ELD which had filed the complaint with the SPF.

So, why would or how could the supposedly neutral SPF, which is still conducting its investigations, issue a joint-statement with the complainant (ELD)?

Such a thing would give rise to charges of bias, that the SPF – in standing with the ELD, as it were – has already compromised its own neutrality.

Justice, as they say, must not only be done but be seen to be done. Continue reading “PEA allows “transmission of personal political views on the Internet” – or does it not?”