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Lee Hsien Yang cautions that GE curveball might be thrown

“It is likely that all political parties are already prepared for e-campaigning, but you never know when a new curveball would be thrown given the recent advisories on cybersecurity and foreign interference,” said the PM's brother

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, brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, drew attention to the possibility of an unexpected curveball being thrown during the upcoming (GE).

In a Facebook post yesterday (Jun 2), the younger Mr Lee quoted an article which was titled, ‘Campaign rules need to be out way before writ of election’.

Mr Lee shared two exerpts from the article; the first pointing out that an unexpected curveball may be thrown: “It is likely that all political parties are already prepared for e-campaigning, but you never know when a new curveball would be thrown given the recent advisories on cybersecurity and foreign interference.”

Mass gatherings and therefore rallies will be sparse in light of Covid-19 regulations, and the piece stated that “For the first time, the political parties will also be campaigning in a Pofma environment”.

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According to the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), Ministers will cease to exercise their powers under Pofma for the entire election period. Instead, senior civil servants are appointed as the Ministers’ alternate authorities for the election period, to decide on the veracity of online statements made by politicians, including their past or potential political masters.

The next GE is due to be held by April 14, 2021, after the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee was convened on August 1, 2019 and its report released on 13 March 2020.

The other portion that Mr Lee shared in his post was that: “Political parties will need more than the usual one week notice to know what they can or cannot do, and even more time to get their facts and texts right.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in an interview with CNA that “elections are coming nearer by the day, and you have to be prepared for it”. The Straits Times on Saturday also reported that the election could be held in July.

However, with much uncertainty ahead, opposition parties such as the Workers’ Party have asked for more information on the GE.

“While Singaporeans continue to focus on overcoming COVID-19, are an essential feature of our democracy that should not be taken lightly,” the party said.

“Contesting parties should know the ground rules as soon as possible, in order to be well-prepared to offer Singaporean voters their best efforts at the polls”, they added.

/TISG

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