The Elections Department replied
April 26, 2011, 2:00 pm
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

This is my email to the Elections Department on 24 April, o248 Hrs:

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I happened to pass by Toa Payoh two nights ago and saw the streets already heavily lined with PAP flags.

According to the Parliamentary Elections Act, election and campaigning period only begins after the Writ of Elections has been issued. As a concerned citizen of Singapore, I would like to obtain a clarification from the Elections Department on whether this sudden presence of the party flags all over Toa Payoh is in violation of the Act since the Writ of Elections has yet been issued.

If this is not in violation of the Act, is it then true to say that the various opposition parties can also start putting their flags in areas they intend to contest as well?

I hope that my queries will be well answered.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Rachel Zeng (Ms)

Here is their reply on 25 April, 1958 Hrs :

Dear Ms. Zeng,

Thank you for your email to the Elections Department.

The Parliamentary Elections Act governs the display of posters and banners during the campaign period. The campaign period is defined as the period beginning with the close of the nomination proceedings and ending with the start of the eve of polling day. Once the campaign period starts, the display of posters and banners must be subject to a permit that is issued by the Returning Officer.

As the campaign period has not commenced, the rules relating to the display of posters and banners under the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations do not apply at this time.

The display of poster and banners outside of the campaign period is governed by other legislation.

Thank you.

Regards,

Teo Shu Huei (Ms)

Elections Department

Prime Minister’s Office

Fax: (65) 633-23428

I wrote back at 26 April, 0210 Hrs:

Dear Ms Teo,

Thank you for your reply. I was puzzled by Chapter 218 of the Parliamentary Elections Act on advertising whereby it reads:

Definitions
2.  In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires —

“banner” means any election advertising that is a flag, bunting, ensign or standard;

“campaign period” , in relation to an election, means the period —

(a) beginning with the closure of the place of nomination on nomination day after the election is adjourned under section 34(1)(a), as the case may be, of the Act to enable a poll to be taken in accordance with the Act; and

(b) ending with the start of the eve of polling day of that election;

So back to the question I am still not clear about and sorry to bother you further but as a concerned electorate, I would like to know if it is alright for opposition political parties to display their flags in the constituencies they intend to contest before nomination day?

Thank you.

Regards,
Rachel Zeng (Ms)

Ok, the first part of my reply may be a little too incoherent because I did not say why I was puzzled by it. Hit sent too quickly but I do hope that I get a reply to whether it is ok for opposition parties to display their flags during nomination day.

*Latest reply at 26 April, 0854 Hrs*

Dear Ms. Zeng,
 
As long as the display of flags are not for election activity , i.e. advertising for the purpose of procuring the election of any candidate, they can display the flags as long as they comply with current regulations of the premise owners where the flags are to be planted.
 
Thank you.
 
 
Regards,
Teo Shu Huei (Ms)
Elections Department
Prime Minister’s Office
Fax: (65) 633-23428

I think the real answer after beating about the bush is NO, it is not alright for opposition parties to plant flags anywhere they like because most of the land belongs to the government anyway. But hey, you’d never know. Anyway I just emailed her to thank her for the reply. She is merely doing her job so I don’t want to make her life too difficult.
 

 

 


38 Comments so far
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[…] Ms Zeng has written to the Department again to seek further clarification. You can read the exchange of letters on Ms Zeng’s blog here. […]

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Rachel, please refer to the following:
——————————-

Vandalism Act:

2. In this Act —

“act of vandalism” means —

(a) without the written authority of an authorised officer or representative of the Government or of the government of any Commonwealth or foreign country or of any statutory body or authority or of any armed force lawfully present in Singapore in the case of public property, or without the written consent of the owner or occupier in the case of private property —

(iii) hanging, suspending, hoisting, affixing or displaying on or from any public property or private property any flag, bunting, standard, banner or the like with any word, slogan, caricature, drawing, mark, symbol or other thing…

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law, any person who commits any act of vandalism or attempts to do any such act or causes any such act to be done shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years, and shall also, subject to sections 325(1) and 330(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010, be punished with caning with not less than 3 strokes and not more than 8 strokes

Comment by Rex Rorty

The PAP already have contravened the Parliamentary Elections Act (CHAPTER 218, SECTIONS 78, 78A AND 102) by displaying its flags in public before Nomination Day.

Comment by Boyan619

Rachel, regardless of which law, under the “No Wrong Door” policy of the government in 2004, they are supposed to help refer you to the right department who is in charge of the correct legislation/department.

Comment by SC

SICK !!

Comment by Indecent......

[…] Ms Zeng has created to a Department again to find serve clarification. You can review a sell of letters on Ms Zeng’s blog here. […]

Pingback by PAP flags – contravening Parliamentary Elections Act? (Updated) | Worldkipedia

Haha. They’re stuck, aren’t they. They can’t say that PAP hanging flags now is wrong. And they won’t say what “other legislation” is governing before Polling Day because then you’d check that out and ask further awkward questions. It’d be too funny for words if PAP’s flags constituted vandalism. Say hi to Michael Fay!

Comment by kevl

What else is new? They are above the law. Remember the last incident at polling place on the day of polling?

Comment by Xmen

I wrote to them as well and received the exact same copy and paste answer, with no re-direction as to the right legislation to seek advise.

Comment by vinyarb

The reply from the Election Department is the dumbest I have ever read in my life.

Comment by HH

[…] pork barrels, mud slings, character assassinations, FUD.. Welcome to SG GE 2011! – Rachel Zeng: The Elections Department replied – Vinyarb: PAP Flags before Nomination Day [Thanks Richard] – The Satay Club: Above the law: PAP […]

Pingback by Daily SG: 26 Apr 2011 « The Singapore Daily

I think the flags are usually outside the zone RC HQ? I think if that’s PAP’s territory, then they can put what they want there…

Comment by Paid and Pain

Nope, I have never seen so many PAP flags around before the day Parliament was dissolved.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

RC’s are part of PA, NOT PAP. They do not belong to any political party, theoretically!

Comment by APA

RC is belongs to PA-P, because PA is under PAP government. As for why the PAP flag is allowed, the land of that constituency belongs to PAP constituency, simple as that they are the ruling party having all the law in favour of them. In chinese, 王法就是我, 我就是王法。understand ?!

Comment by Michael

RC’s are under PA, NOT PAP!

PA are suppose to be non-partisan! They are funded with tax payers money, NOT PAP!

PAP should be disqualified from Toa Payoh, Tampines etc. The only problem is that the head of PA, PAP and PED are all the same guy – i.e. LHL!

Comment by APA

RC doesn’t belong to PAP lei…

Comment by Marcus

Paraphrasing the exchange:

You: “I want to know why a law that only applies between dates A & B is not being applied before date A”

Them: “As you say the law only applies between dates A & B, so that’s why it’s not being applied before date A”

You: “I am puzzled as the law states it only applies between dates A & B!!!”

Let’s apply the same logic to another topic:

You: “If a shop is only open during the week, why is it closed during weekends?”

Them: “That’s because the shop is only open during the week”

You: “Well I am puzzled as the shop states it’s only open during the week!!!!”

A bit of reading comprehension really would not hurt.

Comment by P

Yuppers exactly. I wonder how much civil servants working in such departments are being paid for making such scripted replies that are actually not answering the questions directly at all.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

well, if those area are already belong to the PAP, then they are putting the flags and banners to show and tell that its their area.

If an area belongs to an opposition, the opp can place their flag and banner but PAP cant placed theirs in the opp ward.

in other words, PAP are not campaigning yet. just telling the opp, this is my territory. thats all.

Comment by whoami

I wonder if they put anything over at Potong Pasir… hmm… if anyone passes by, do check it out.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Rachel, so

As long as the display of flags are not for election activity , i.e. advertising for the purpose of procuring the election of any candidate, they can display the flags as long as they comply with current regulations of the premise owners where the flags are to be planted.

Teo Shu Huei (Ms)
Elections Department

since no one can vote after election,
can oppositions plant their flag outside their house for the rest of the yr / next 5 yrs ? ?

Comment by Joker

I hope so. Somebody write in to ask? :p

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Sounds like all Singaporeans can put up PAP or any of the opposition parties’ flags outside their own flat or house? like during national day?

Comment by Lilas

I would say the answer is a non answer. Yes they replyed you, but only for the sake of replying you. Why would anyone display the party flag all over the country if theres no election going on? I believe if there are enough complains being filed, they have no choice but to investiage.

Or we could bring the issue up to the Minister of Information, Communications, and the Arts, RADM (NS) LUI Tuck Yew or the Minister of Law, Mr K. Shanmugam when they are on their once in 5 years walkabout. I believe they should have a good answer to our qurries.

Comment by James

Might as well not reply right?

Comment by rachelabsinthe

I disagree. We should make life difficult for her. She is a civil servant. She is supposed to apply the laws without fear or bias or prejudice. How can laws be selective?

Comment by SAD

Make police report lah, next call the press, put PIC on STOMP etc.. see whether can get response…

Comment by ltay

Last Parliament, PAP held 82 of 84 seats…..they are the Law….

Comment by William

Rachel,

Thank you for your effort and initiative.

I seriously think you should persue the matter further. PM has publicly told them that they are the servants of the public. You should demand a clear, satisfactory answer from them.

We need to show them we are serious about the election and the law implemented by the ruling party. We shouldn’t have double standard and if we are persistent, they will wake up and we are no ore push-overs. I have done that many times with the so-call servants. Once you demand, they will response. If not, they will take things for granted.

Best regards,
DavidTeoKT

Comment by DavidTeoKT

HI GUYS!

This is nonsense.. All property in public is under Housing Board ~ Government or State Owned

Government is not belonging to PAP party

Parliament is Dissolved – no MP right now

Therefore this is ILLEGAL Acts. Can someone DO sOMething about it?

Comment by Tan

“As long as the display of flags are not for election activity , i.e. advertising for the purpose of procuring the election of any candidate, they can display the flags as long as they comply with current regulations of the premise owners where the flags are to be planted.” One could interpret the plain PAP flags (with no mention of candidates etc, or “vote for PAP”) are merely a display of the incumbant part of that constituency. Therefore, it is “not for election activity” according to their reply. So it’s not a clear cut situation.
Having said that, it would also imply there is nothing wrong with the opposition parties from putting up their flags.

Comment by Criticalist

What are the other regulations that apply during non election periods? Would it be possible to ask her again. I want to read them as well. Thanks

Comment by Michael

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY2KIWOHNl4&feature=player_embedded#at=207 < PAP BUYING VOTEs…

Comment by Boyan619

[…] The Elections Department replied This is my email to the Elections Department on 24 April, o248 Hrs: Dear Sir/ Madam, I happened to pass by Toa […] […]

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Mines a new GRC, Moulmein Kallang and Ive seen pap flags all over. since this is a new grc, surely the flags are for election purposes? Unless they mean campaigning for a certain individual rather than party.

In which case, the opp can plaster flags all over so long as no candidates are featured

Comment by gerry mander

Yesterday at about 2pm, PAP supporters were already putting up banners and flags on every lamp-post along the road. Such rapid approval just barely after nomination closed?

Comment by Bedokian

[…] Act is applicable to this case. For now, I remain baffled as to why it offered two contradictory replies to Ms Rachel Zeng when she made an enquiry in 2011. (In a previous article, I suggested that the […]

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