Election rallies and Seventh Month Festival getai shows must be kept separate: Police

A getai performance at a field opposite Khatib MRT.
A getai performance at a field opposite Khatib MRT.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Getai performances are strictly not allowed before, during or after election rallies, said the police on Friday (Aug 14).

"Election campaigning activities and Seventh Month Festival events should be kept separate," it said in a statement, adding that other forms of stage performances and entertainment are also not allowed to be held with election rallies under the Public Order (Election Meetings) Regulations 2009.

The police said Seventh Month Festival event organisers "should ensure that no speeches intended to canvass support for election candidates and/or political parties are delivered (at) Seventh Month Festival events".

The lunar Seventh Month Festival - also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival - starts on Friday. Getai, which means "song stage" in Chinese, refers to variety performances which entertain both the living and the dead staged during this month.

The police also released new rules on general election rallies.

Outdoor rallies for the upcoming election should be held only at designated rally sites, and the police "will make available sufficient rally sites", it said.

The ballot method used to allocate rally sites in the 2012 and 2013 by-elections will also be used for the upcoming election.

To ensure contesting parties/independent candidates have more opportunities to use their preferred rally sites on their preferred dates, a "give-way" rule will be implemented, it said.

Parties that have been allocated a site will have to "give way" to other applicants that apply for the same site at the same timeslot on the following day.

In addition, to ensure that every contesting party/independent candidate in each constituency can hold at least one outdoor rally within the last two to three nights of campaigning, a "block ballot" method will also be implemented in constituencies where the number of contesting parties/independent candidates is more than the number of election rally sites.

Under the "block ballot" method, the last two to three nights for rally sites will be grouped together for application as a block. Contesting parties/independent candidates can only apply for one site on one night within the block.

The allocation of outdoor assembly centre sites on Counting Night will also be done via a ballot method.

Details on the application and allocation process for rally sites and assembly centre sites will be released after the Writ of Election is issued, said the police.