Foreigners in S'pore told not to import politics

Barisan Nasional and 1 Malaysia flags seen along the road near the Balik Pulau Umno building in Simpang Empat, Balik Pulau.
Barisan Nasional and 1 Malaysia flags seen along the road near the Balik Pulau Umno building in Simpang Empat, Balik Pulau. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

The Singapore Police Force has issued a warning against the importing of politics from other countries into the Republic, after learning of calls encouraging overseas Malaysians to support political activities in the lead-up to their country's upcoming general election.

The calls included those by Global Bersih, a coalition of Malaysian non-governmental organisations seeking to reform the country's electoral system.

"Foreigners visiting, working or living in Singapore should not use Singapore as a platform to further their political causes," the police said in a statement yesterday.

Foreigners are also reminded to abide by Singapore laws, including those regulating public assemblies.

The police said that under the Public Order Act, organising or participating in a public assembly without a police permit is illegal. Non-Singaporeans will also not be granted permits for assemblies used for political or electoral campaigns.

"Those who break the law will be dealt with firmly, and this may include termination of visas or work passes, where applicable," the police added.

The Malaysian Parliament is likely to be dissolved this week, as the House will sit for the final time for the 2013-2018 session today.

Singapore Police acted on several incidents during Malaysia's last general election in 2013. Then-Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman crossed the Second Link in a bus ahead of polling day on May 5 that year, and spent an hour meeting Malaysians and speaking to journalists in Jurong East, leading to suggestions that he was campaigning.

And following two protests linked to Bersih at Merlion Park on May 8 and May 11, police issued 74 conditional warnings to the participants under the Public Order Act.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'Foreigners in S'pore told not to import politics'. Print Edition | Subscribe