Singapore—In this country, it seems, election periods are marked by an uptick in police reports, and GE 2020 is no exception.
It’s not always easy to check the veracity that police reports were indeed filed, perhaps due to the confidential nature of the filings, although at times the Singapore Police Force (SPF) releases a statement confirming that a report had been filed, as it did with Workers’ Party candidate Raeesah Khan on July 5, and then with Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, the First Assistant Secretary-General of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), on July 7.
But screenshots of other reports filed have made the rounds on social media and have also been featured in news outlets. On June 28, a netizen allegedly filed a complaint with the SPF over a supporter of the PAP for threatening Bryant Wong Hai Chew, the man who had written about former PAP candidate Ivan Lim’s questionable past behaviour while he had been a national serviceman.
Over the next week or so there seemed to be no complaints filed with the police, but by July 5, the Public Affairs Department of the SPF released a statement confirming that two reports had been filed on Ms Khan concerning comments she made online in 2018 concerning race and religion. Immediately afterward, Ms Khan issued a public apology.
The report against Ms Khan appeared to get the ball rolling.
That same night, photos of a police report filed against the Deputy Prime Minister began to circulate on social media. The person who filed the report cited an incident in March 2019 when Mr Heng said at a forum at the Nanyang Technological University that older generations of Singaporeans are not ready for a Prime Minister who is not Chinese. The person who filed the report wrote, “I find this comment to be socially divisive and as someone from the minority race, I feel unsafe in Singapore.”
The following day, a netizen by the name of Goh Jing Heng Alfred took to Facebook to say that he had filed a police report regarding the statement that PAP released entitled “The Workers’ Party’s position on SengKang candidate Ms. Raeesah Khan”.
He wrote, “The purpose of this report is to hold the PAP accountable for an ‘offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race under Section 298A of the Penal Code’ as well as the spreading of online falsehoods.…
I am proud to live in a country where everybody is equal in the eyes of the law, and the ruling party itself is not above the law.”
I have made a police report regarding the PAP's recent press statement titled "The Workers' Party's position on SengKang…
On July 7 (Tuesday), it was reported that the police have launched an investigation over the comments of a netizen named Abdul Malik Mohammed Ghazali. Mr Abdul Malik said he had been “one of the first to leak out and viral screenshots” in a Facebook post. Although the post was taken down later, netizens had taken, and spread, screenshots of it.
Channel NewsAsia quotes the SPF as saying, “The Police are looking into the alleged offences of posting comments on social media with deliberate intent to wound religious or racial feelings under Section 298 of the Penal Code and harassment under Section 4 of the Protection from Harassment Act.”
Also on July 7, Terry Xu, the editor of The Online Citizen, said in a Facebook post that he had filed a police report against Michael Petraeus. Mr Petraeus, who is behind the Critical Spectator blog and Facebook page, is a Polish national.
Mr Xu had posted screenshots of two of Mr Petraeus’ Facebook posts, which seem to have been taken down. Mr Xu wrote that in the posts there had been “clear intent to influence the election by criticising a candidate from a particular party and on policies proposed by various parties.”
I have just made a police report against Critical Spectator over the posts made in relation to the ongoing General…