Singapore GE2020: Peoples Voice members approached by police over placard of PAP MPs; police say their actions amount to public demonstration

Peoples Voice secretary-general and founder Lim Tean during a Facebook Live session on June 26, 2020. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM LIM TEAN/ FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Three members of the Peoples Voice (PV) party were approached by the police in Pasir Ris on Thursday (June 25) evening, after they were seen carrying a placard with photos of MPs from the People's Action Party (PAP) on it.

On Friday, PV secretary-general and founder Lim Tean said on Facebook that the party members, who were doing community outreach, were "detained by police for over two hours" with "no charges, no legal reasons cited".

He elaborated on the incident in a Facebook Live session later that day, saying that the party members were stopped by the police because they were holding up a "montage of various PAP MPs sleeping in Parliament".

Mr Lim also alleged: "This is the sort of harassment that opposition members find themselves under all the time."

In response to media queries, a police spokesman said on Saturday that it received a report about people displaying a placard at Pasir Ris bus interchange on Thursday at around 6.30pm.

At around 7pm, police officers located a group of three men standing together near Pasir Ris MRT station. One of them was carrying a PV flag and displaying a placard with a photo collage of politicians from another political party, said the police spokesman.

"The police officers established that they were using the placard to demonstrate against other politicians. They also had four other placards with the same photo collage in their possession," the spokesman added.

"Their actions thus amounted to a public demonstration, which requires a police permit."

The spokesman added: "Political parties and their members can, however, continue with their usual meet-and-greet sessions, which have been going on even before the Covid-19 crisis, subject to the prevailing safe distancing measures."

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC is one of the five constituencies that PV had earlier said it would be contesting. The others are Jalan Besar GRC and the single-seats of Pioneer, Mountbatten and Punggol West.

The police spokesman also disputed what Mr Lim alleged.

"Contrary to what has been alleged, the police officers did not inform them that there was no offence disclosed," he said.

He said: "During the engagement, a member of the group claimed that he had a medical condition, and the police officers called for an ambulance. He was not conveyed by the ambulance after being examined. The police officers advised the group to (put away) their placard."

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