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They have no police permits, so organisers cancel fundraiser featuring Singapore’s political parties

SINGAPORE — A man who planned a fundraising event, which will see members of a few political parties collecting cardboard boxes across Singapore on Saturday (Dec 14), has cancelled it at the last minute.

The Happy People Helping People Community said that it had invited eight political parties in Singapore to take part in its event.

The Happy People Helping People Community said that it had invited eight political parties in Singapore to take part in its event.

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SINGAPORE — A man who planned a fundraising event, which will see members of a few political parties collecting cardboard boxes across Singapore on Saturday (Dec 14), has cancelled it at the last minute.

Mr Mohammad Nafiz Kamarudin, 38, said that he was told by the police on Thursday that he needed to get a permit for the event.

Speaking to TODAY on Friday, he said at first that he would still carry on regardless of the notice from the police.

“Whatever happens (tomorrow), happens… This is clearly not going to harm anyone. It is going to do more good… If they’re going to charge me for this kind of thing, go ahead and charge me.”

However, on Friday night, he changed his mind to cancel it after the police issued a statement to the media on the day. This is mostly because the political parties would likely withdraw from the event, he said.

“SDP (Singapore Democratic Party) told us it wouldn't participate since (the news is) already out. I believe the others would do the same,” he added.

Mr Nafiz heads the Happy People Helping People Community group and it was planning the event called A Mile in Their Shoes — ‘Leaders of Singapore’ Fundraiser Special.

The group claimed to have approached all the political parties here who are up for the next General Election.

Participants will follow persons who earn a living collecting discarded cardboard boxes, and get to experience “cardboard collecting first-hand”, it said.

It also opened online accounts so that the public can donate “to support their parties” and the money will be distributed to the cardboard collectors.

On its Facebook page, it said on Thursday that four political parties — SDP, People's Power Party, Progress Singapore Party and the Reform Party — have sent participants for the event. The group had earlier said that it sent invitations to all political parties including the ruling People's Action Party and the main opposition party Workers' Party.

Mr Nafiz said that on the same day, the police informed him that he has to apply for permits.

In their media statement, the police said that the group failed to apply for any licence under the House to House and Street Collections Act for the activity.

The group is also not a registered charity if it wanted to collect donations.

The police added that the event “goes beyond simply helping cardboard collectors, and appears to be politicising a social cause”.

They assessed that the event would constitute a public assembly, and thus would require a police permit under the Public Order Act.

They then informed Mr Nafiz to put in the necessary applications, but have yet to receive any.

After the police statement to the media went out, the organisers informed their Facebook followers on Friday night of their final decision: “It is unfortunate that we have to cancel this event tomorrow because the police did not want us to do this without a permit. And they told us yesterday night. We wonder why at the very last minute.

“Nevertheless, we will still be in Toa Payoh helping the old folks collect their cardboard boxes and we welcome anyone who wishes to join us to experience what it's like to be in their shoes.”

They then asked those interested to take part to send them a personal message.

Mr Nafiz told TODAY that his event is not “politically motivated” because he has opened it to all political parties and not just a select few. 

This is not the first time that he has had a run-in with the authorities. In September, he and his wife were being investigated by the police for wearing T-shirts bearing a message against the death penalty during the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run. 

TODAY understands that investigations for that case are still ongoing. 

Related topics

police permit political party Politics cardboard collector fundraising cancel

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