'Stern warnings' issued to 4 people for Cooling-Off Day breaches
SINGAPORE: The police have issued stern warnings to four people for cooling-off day breaches during the May 2016 Bukit Batok by-election.
In a media release on Thursday (Feb 16), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said the warnings were issued in lieu of prosecution to Mr Jason Chua Chin Seng who founded the "Fabrications About The PAP" Facebook page, and The Independent Singapore's Mr Masilamani Pillai Kumaran, Mr Ravi Chandran Philemon and lawyer Alfred Dodwell. All had published online articles in breach of the prohibition of election advertising on Cooling-Off Day and Polling Day under the Parliamentary Elections Act.
"Upon careful consideration of all the circumstances of the cases, including the nature of the publications, the Attorney-General’s Chambers decided to administer stern warnings to all parties," police said. "Should any of the parties commit similar offences in subsequent elections, the stern warning that was administered can be taken into consideration in the decision to prosecute."
Election advertising on Cooling-Off Day and Polling Day is not allowed so voters have the time to reflect on issues at stake before casting their votes, police explained. They added that the breaches detected during the Bukit Batok by-election "go against the spirit of the election rule".
"Left unchecked, such breaches can undermine public trust in Singapore’s electoral process," police said.
Those found to have breached the rules in future elections will be subject to police investigations and may face prosecution, SPF said. Those convicted face a fine of up to S$1,000, and up to 12 months' jail, or both.