Singapore Embassy in Jakarta refutes social media claims that Jakarta governor's supporters were detained in Singapore

Singapore has refuted reports on social media that two supporters of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama were detained during a visit to the city-state.
Singapore has refuted reports on social media that two supporters of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama were detained during a visit to the city-state.PHOTO: TEMAN AHOK

JAKARTA - Singapore has refuted reports on social media that two supporters of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama were detained during a visit to the city-state.

"The two members of 'Teman Ahok' were not detained while they were in Singapore," said the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta, in a Facebook post on Sunday (June 5).

Teman Ahok, or "Friends of Ahok" in English, are a group of Indonesians who have pledged support for Mr Basuki's re-election bid in 2017.

The two supporters - identified in a beritasatu.com news report as Ms Amalia Ayuningtyas and Mr Richard Handris Saerang - had arrived in Singapore on Saturday.

According to the Singapore Embassy, they were denied entry after they told immigration officers that they were in Singapore to conduct political activities, including the raising of campaign funds.

"They were aware that they were not allowed to conduct any political activities in Singapore but nevertheless still decided to travel to Singapore," said the embassy.

"Singapore has always taken a strong stand against the importation of foreign politics into Singapore. We will not allow foreigners to use Singapore as a platform to conduct any political activities.

"Any contravention of this by any individual will be dealt with in accordance with our laws."

News of Ms Amalia and Mr Richard allegedly being held in Singapore and denied contact with Indonesian Embassy officials had went viral on Saturday, with many using the hashtag #SAVEAmaliaRichard.

A report on the beritasatu.com website claimed that the two supporters were "isolated from the outside world".

Teman Ahok coordinator Aditya Yogi Prabowo also claimed that "the Indonesian Embassy (in Singapore) was unable to meet with them", reported the Jakarta Post's website.

Mr Aditya reportedly also threatened to use "all of its resources" to swarm the detention centre if the Singapore authorities continue to hold Ms Amalia and Mr Richard.

The Indonesian Embassy in Singapore, however, confirmed that it was informed of the matter and allowed consular access to the two supporters.

It also said in a statement on Sunday that both Ms Amalia and Mr Richard had returned to Indonesia.

Ms Amalia, 24, is said to be one of the founders of Teman Ahok, a volunteer group set up in 2015.

One of its main activities is to collect copies of identity cards of eligible voters who support Mr Basuki.

To run for office as an independent candidate in the election next year, Mr Basuki needs the endorsement of at least 523,000 people, or about 7.5 per cent of the total number of eligible voters in Jakarta.

The group, majority of which is made up of volunteers under 30 years old, has already garnered more than 930,000 endorsements as of Sunday.

Teman Ahok had received an initial funding of 500 million rupiah (S$50,500) to kickstart their activities from survey institute Cyrus Network founder Hasan Nasbi.

It has also raised funds by selling Ahok-themed merchandise.

Ms Amalia recently told the Jakarta Globe in an interview that Teman Ahok has no official affiliation with either Mr Basuki or the Jakarta administration.

She also added that the group does not have a leader or an official structure, and its day-to-day activities are run by a secretariat.