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Not campaign period yet, so laws on display of party flags for GE don’t apply: Elections Department

SINGAPORE — As the period of campaigning by political parties for the July 10 General Election (GE) has not started, the rules relating to the display of posters and banners under the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations do not apply at this time.

Not campaign period yet, so laws on display of party flags for GE don’t apply: Elections Department

People's Action Party flags seen along Marine Terrace on June 27, 2020. A total of 11 flags were seen in the vicinity.

SINGAPORE — As the period of campaigning by political parties for the July 10 General Election (GE) has not started, the rules relating to the display of posters and banners under the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations do not apply at this time.

For now, the display of posters and banners is governed by other legislation such as the Town Councils Act.

This was what the Elections Department Singapore (ELD) told TODAY on Saturday (June 27), after the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) pointed out that flags from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) are put up in Marine Parade.

In a Facebook post published on Saturday, SDP said that it had sent an email to the ELD “to clarify the legal status of displaying party's flags in public places”. 

The email, which was signed by the party's vice-chairman John Tan, asked ELD to confirm if it is “against election rules or laws” to display a party's flags in public places before Nomination Day, which will be on June 30.

Mr Tan also asked ELD to “let him know” what would be done if PAP was found to be in violation of rules in displaying its flags.

“If there is no violation, please let me know, too, as my party is planning to do likewise,” he wrote.

In its reply to TODAY’s queries, ELD said that the Parliamentary Elections Act governs the display of posters and banners during the campaign period, which 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,” a spokesperson from ELD said.

A volunteer at the Marine Parade PAP branch office, who declined to be named, told TODAY that the flags put up are “within the branch perimeters”.

The volunteer said the PAP flags were put up "as part of National Day celebrations" — something which has been done every year "for the past 20 to 30 years". There are plans to add to the 11 flags currently being displayed, said the volunteer, who added that the flags may be displayed for a longer period of time this year because "National Day celebrations are extended". 

The volunteer was alluding to the announcement on April 25 by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) that with immediate effect, all organisations and households would be allowed to display the national flag until Sept 30 “to rally Singaporeans” amid the Covid-19 situation. The country celebrates its National Day on Aug 9 yearly.

Every year before the Covid-19 crisis struck, people were allowed to display the national flag only from July 1 to Sept 30 during the usual period of celebrations.

The rules for displaying the national flag were amended due to the pandemic, after MCCY received requests from members of the public who wanted to display the flag as a demonstration of unity and solidarity with others in society.

Related topics

Singapore General Election SGVotes2020 ELD flag PAP SDP

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