Singapore GE2020: Reform Party given enough notice for constituency political broadcasts, says IMDA

The Reform Party had said its five Ang Mo Kio GRC candidates were not given enough notice to record its constituency political broadcast. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - All political parties were given sufficient notice for the constituency political broadcasts and no request was made to record the broadcast at a separate location, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Monday (July 6).

The authority was responding to the Reform Party (RP), which said the five candidates from its Ang Mo Kio GRC team were not given enough notice to record its constituency political broadcast (CPB), which was screened last Friday.

RP secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam, in a Facebook post on Sunday, said the IMDA had given the RP less than a day's notice about the time slot to record the party's broadcast. He added that the IMDA told him that he could not make his speech from a remote location, even though he could not leave his home as he was on a stay-home notice after returning from overseas recently.

IMDA, in a statement on Monday, said: "Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam's assertions that the IMDA had not given due notice to the Reform Party for its constituency political broadcasts are untrue...

"It is not true that Mr Jeyaretnam was not allowed to record a CPB because he was serving a stay-home notice. IMDA never received any request to do so."

IMDA added that it had briefed all political parties about the format of the broadcasts and the recording schedules on June 26, four days before parties officially nominated their candidates.

It said it had told parties that the recording slots were scheduled for between July 2 and July 4, and the time slots would be confirmed only after Nomination Day on June 30.

The Reform Party's representatives did not object to this, said IMDA. IMDA then sent the recording schedules to all parties on July 1.

"IMDA also contacted RP's representatives via e-mail and phone. RP representatives acknowledged receipt," the statement said, noting that no queries or concerns were raised at this point.

IMDA said RP only requested to postpone the recording of the broadcast half an hour before the allocated time slot on July 2.

The authority said: "Two RP representatives were already present on location, and they proceeded with their CPB recording. It was not possible to reschedule, as postponement would impact the recording for other parties and candidates."

It added that all other parties were able to record the political broadcasts according to the allocation rules and allocated slots.

For the July 10 polls, the RP is fielding Mr Jeyaretnam, 61, party chairman and marketing director Andy Zhu, 37, criminal defence lawyer Charles Yeo, 30, telemarketer Noraini Yunus, 52, and human resources professional Darren Soh, 52. They will face off against a PAP team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 68, with Mr Gan Thiam Poh, 56; Mr Darryl David, 50; and newcomers Ng Ling Ling, 48, and lawyer Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30.

Mr Jeyaretnam said one of the other two absent candidates could make it only from 4pm but the team was asked to report at 10am. In the end, only Mr Yeo and Madam Noraini gave a speech in the recorded broadcast.

Mr Jeyaretnam, who made the allegations in a video, said: "So, how can this be a free and fair election? It is so completely one-sided. Let me tell you, we will be going to the United Nations after this and making a complaint."

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