SINGAPORE - Two male individuals are under police investigation for allegedly damaging election posters in two separate cases along Bukit Batok Avenue 5 and Hougang Avenue 10 respectively.
In a statement released on Thursday (July 2), the police said its officers came across a damaged election poster belonging to the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) at the bottom of a lamp-post along Bukit Batok East Ave 5 at about 1.50am on Wednesday, and initiated investigations.
Later that day, the PSP lodged a police report about another damaged PSP election poster along the same road.
The second investigation was prompted by a report at about 8.30pm on Wednesday that the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) election posters had been damaged in the vicinity of Hougang Avenue 10.
In the first case, the police said that, following investigations, officers from Jurong Police Division had arrested a 51-year-old man who is believed to have damaged both PSP posters.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, PSP chief Tan Cheng Bock had shared photos of the posters – featuring the party’s slate for Chua Chu Kang group representation constituency (GRC) – lying on the road and grass verge. They had been ripped from the lamp posts to which they had been secured and were damaged.
Chua Chu Kang GRC will see the PSP’s Francis Yuen, Tan Meng Wah, Choo Shaun Ming and Abdul Rahman Mohamad face off against incumbents Gan Kim Yong, Low Yen Ling, Don Wee and Zhulkarnain Rahim of the ruling PAP.
In the second case, officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division established the identity of a 13-year-old who is believed to have committed the act in the Hougang Avenue 10 incident. The teenager is currently assisting in the investigation.
The area, which falls under Aljunied GRC, will see the PAP’s Victor Lye, Chua Eng Leong, Shamsul Kumar, Chan Hui Yuh and Alex Yeo take on incumbents Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim, Faisal Manap, Gerald Giam and Leon Perera of the Workers’ Party.
The affected parties have responded to the incidents by calling for supporters to remain calm, even as the election heats up.
Dr Tan, noting that “our emotions can get carried away” while “in the heat of campaigning”, reminded supporters of all stripes: “(But) this is only Day 1 and we still have a long way to go. Let’s remember to keep cool heads...
"Let’s also remember to always be calm, polite and respectful, despite a difference of opinion.
“For country, for people.”
On Thursday night, Mr Gan, on behalf of the PAP Chua Chu Kang GRC candidates, thanked the police “for their expeditious investigation” into the Bukit Batok incident on the team’s Facebook page.
He also issued a call to members of the public and supporters of the various parties to “uphold an exemplary conduct befitting of a gracious nation”.
“The incident is a timely reminder for everyone to respect the campaign activities, posters and materials of all political parties,” he wrote.
“We would like to reiterate that members of the public and supporters of political parties should show respect for each other, regardless of their differences in political inclinations. Let’s be courteous and considerate... We are all Singaporeans, one Nation, one People.”
The PAP team in Aljunied GRC urged voters to “channel our energies constructively” and not deface the election posters, even as it put up a picture of a torn PAP poster featuring its slate for Aljunied GRC in a Facebook post.
The police said they take “a very stern view of persons who vandalise or cause damage to property, and will not hesitate to take action against them”.
Under the Parliamentary Elections Act, it is an offence for any person to alter, remove, destroy, obliterate or deface any election posters or banners. The punishment for such an offence is a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.