Singapore GE2020: PSP, PAP asked to take down election posters in Clementi over safety concerns

The posters were affixed to open space lamp posts where high volume of traffic was expected. PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and People's Action Party (PAP) took down their election posters from some lamp posts along Clementi West Street 2 on Thursday (July 2) after being asked to do so by the Elections Department (ELD).

Both parties are contesting the West Coast group representation constituency (GRC) in the July 10 General Election.

The ELD, citing safety concerns, told The Straits Times on Friday: "Under the law, political parties and candidates are required to seek consent from premises owners/occupiers for posters and banners to be put up.

"In this case, ELD checked with West Coast Town Council, which is the premises owner/occupier where the said lamp posts are located.

"West Coast Town Council asked for the posters to be removed for public safety reasons as they were affixed to open-space lamp posts, where high volume of traffic is expected. Both political parties, that is, PAP and PSP, have since removed their posters from these lamp posts."

West Coast GRC will see a contest between PAP incumbents S. Iswaran, Desmond Lee, Ang Wei Neng, Foo Mee Har and Rachel Ong, and PSP's Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Mr Leong Mun Wai, Ms Hazel Poa, Mr Nadarajah Loganathan and Mr Jeffrey Khoo.

In a post on the PSP West Coast Facebook account, which was updated at noon on Friday, the party said: "The PSP team was just ordered to take down... campaign posters by ELD, after a complaint by West Coast Town Council. Hours of hard work went down the drain. It was puzzling because the PAP posters were left untouched."

It added that the noon update was to "clarify that the takedown order was from ELD after West Coast Town Council made a complaint".

PSP chief Dr Tan also took to Instagram on Friday to say that his team was "very upset and very sad", but added in his caption that "we are not going to blame anyone".

After making door-to-door visits at Teck Whye Lane, he said the incident was "unfortunate" as his party had adhered to ELD regulations, but some of the areas where the posters were put could have been private.

"I think the town councils work within their powers and there are certain areas controlled by them, and we shouldn't go in," said Dr Tan. "If we are asked to take (the posters) out, we will. It's all right, we just move to another place. There's no difficulty at all."

But in a Facebook post on Friday, Mr Iswaran took issue with how the PSP had "put out videos claiming the West Coast Town Council took down their posters".

He added: "There are rules on where posters can be put up. In West Coast, both PAP and PSP have been told to take down posters which were in contravention of the rules. For example, some of the posters were above seats, often used by the elderly, and near children's playgrounds. The PAP has complied by taking down the posters.

"It is regrettable that Dr Tan and the PSP have chosen to give an untrue spin to this issue.

"At a time when we are grappling with bigger issues like Covid, the economy and jobs, I think the residents of West Coast GRC and Singapore deserve better."

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