Singapore — Netizens have come out in support of PAP MP Louis Ng who is under police investigation, it was announced on Wednesday (March 3), for having held up a placard supporting hawkers in June last year.
He had visited Yishun Park Hawker Centre on June 19 and 20 last year and posted photos of himself with hawkers in front of their stalls, to encourage the public to come and order food.
In the photos, he is holding a sign that says “Support them”, along with a smiley face.
The police said they have interviewed the MP and that an investigation is ongoing as to a possible offence of public assembly without a permit.
Many Singaporeans have reacted to this, including the Workers’ Party’s Yee Jenn Jong, a former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament.
Mr Yee wondered whether it would be legal if he held up his book in a public place without prior permission to be photographed.
Mr Yee, who last December published a book entitled Journey in Blue – A Peek into the Workers’ Party of Singapore, posted his question on Facebook. It is so confusing here in Singapore, he added.
“Now I wonder. Is this legal? I held up my book in a public place without prior permission to be photographed. What if I printed the cover out and pasted it on a placard? What if I added a smiley face to the printout that said ‘Support Me’. It is so confusing here in Singapore.”
Last year, activist Jolovan Wham was charged for holding up a smiley face sign to show support for two young climate activists who had also held up placards in public and who had been summoned by police for questioning.
Others have also commented on the investigation of Mr Ng. The Transformative Justice Collective, an organisation that seeks the reform of Singapore’s criminal justice system, tweeted its concern on hearing Mr Ng “is under police investigation for holding up a sign … to rally public support for hawkers, a much cherished yet beleaguered industry in Singapore”.
TJC is concerned to hear that Louis Ng, a People's Action Party Member of Parliament, is under police investigation for holding up a sign saying "Support them 🙂" to rally public support for hawkers, a much cherished yet beleaguered industry in Singapore. https://t.co/rOjLYcx9xB
— Transformative Justice Collective (@tjc_singapore) March 3, 2021
The group added, “We strongly disagree with the police’s move to open an investigation. His actions did not cause any public disorder, violence, or harm, and should be guaranteed under the right of freedom of speech, assembly, and association, as enshrined in Singapore’s Constitution.”
In a later tweet, the collective said that if Mr Ng is called in for questioning by the police, some members would gladly “accompany him to the police station and wait for him, to show solidarity and also document the amount of time interrogations into such non-offences take.”
Commenters on social media have also voiced their support for Mr Ng, saying they did not think he did anything wrong.
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