SINGAPORE - The fan meet for vlogger Nuseir Yassin, popularly known by his Facebook moniker Nas Daily, does not require a permit under the Public Order Act (POA) as it does not involve a cause, but is a celebrity meet-and-greet, said the police late on Friday (April 19).
A spokesman said the police was aware that some persons are "falsely claiming that there are double standards applied for the granting of permits".
"These allegations which suggest that the police have been biased and shown favouritism are untrue and baseless, and maliciously seek to undermine confidence in public institutions," he said.
The event is set to be held at the Botanic Gardens from 4pm to 6pm on Saturday, with more than 3,400 people indicating their interest to attend on the meet-and-greet's Facebook page as of 11pm.
However, it attracted criticism from several quarters after Mr Nuseir told the media on Friday that the necessary permits to hold the event had been granted.
Freelance journalist Kirsten Han blogged that allowing the Israeli national to host an event outside of Hong Lim Park shortly after his arrival in Singapore had touched a nerve, considering past restrictions on foreign participation in events held by local activists.
"It's a clear indication that, while Singapore might be known internationally as a stickler for the rules, things here really work based on the whims of the People's Action Party," she wrote.
On his Facebook page, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor Donald Low also highlighted the "double standards, capriciousness and unfairness" involved, citing Ms Han's blog.
Mr Andrew Loh, co-founder of sociopolitical site The Online Citizen, urged the police to explain how Mr Nuseir was able to get a permit for the meet-up as his videos were of a sociopolitical nature.
In response to media queries, the police clarified that a POA permit is not needed as "it is a non-cause based event".
"It is a meet-and-greet event involving a media celebrity with his fans, and such events can be held outside of Speaker's Corner without a permit," said the police, noting that similar events in the past also do not require this permit.
This included fan meet events such as actor Chris Hemsworth's Marina Bay Sands event last May and actress Fann Wong's meet-and greet event at Bugis Plus in 2017.
"However, as the Nas event involves the transmission of recorded music, a Public Entertainment Licence was issued," said the police, adding that the vlogger's event had met the licence's requirements.
A POA permit, which is granted by the police, is only required for "cause-based events" such as those that commemorate any event, publicise any cause or campaigns or demonstrate support for, or oppose the views or actions of any person, groups, or governments, said the spokesman.
But events of such nature which meet certain conditions do not need a permit to be held at the Speaker's Corner.
"There have been many such events held in the past at Speaker's Corner without a permit, such as the protest against a goods and services tax hike held in 2018 and the Abuse of Process rally held in January 2019," he said.