Probe into use of Malaysian, S'pore flags at event

The police are investigating the use of Singapore and Malaysian flags by participants of an event at Hong Lim Park on Sunday that was held in support of the upcoming Bersih 5 rally in Malaysia.

During the Yellow Sit-In event, the 15 or so participants laid a Singapore flag and a Malaysian flag on mats. They also held the flags up and took photos with them.

The police said yesterday several people are assisting in investigations "into offences under laws regarding the display of Singapore's and Malaysia's state flags".

Bersih, a Malaysian group seeking electoral reforms, will hold its fifth rally this weekend to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak over his alleged involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad saga.

The organiser of the Singapore event, civil society activist Jolovan Wham, told The Straits Times he was stopped by the police after the event. He said he was taken to the Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post for questioning and saw several other event participants there.

The police wanted to know the the participants' nationalities, why the event took place, and if the foreigners were mere observers, said Mr Wham. He was also questioned on the use of the flags.

Under the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act, the public display of the national emblem of any country, including flags, is prohibited except by certain people, such as diplomats, and when a an order is published in the Government Gazette to allow it.

Offenders can be fined up to $500 and jailed up to six months.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2016, with the headline 'Probe into use of Malaysian, S'pore flags at event'. Print Edition | Subscribe