IS THE DISPLAY OF PAP FLAGS BEFORE START OF ELECTIONS ILLEGAL?

Dear ASS,

I read your article by Mr Tan saying that by hanging the PAP flag before the elections, the PAP is in breach of the Parliamentary Elections Act. I want to point out that this is not a new issue being raised by and the ELD had previously responded to the issue.

Back in 2011, one netizen wrote in to ELD questioning the legality of the display of PAP flags before the elections and this was ELD’s reply:

“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.”

ELD reply says that since the election has not started, the Parliamentary Elections Act does not apply in this case and therefore is it not illegal to display the PAP flag in public under the PEA.

The display of PAP flag however is governed by other legislation. When ELD was queried further on this, their reply was:

“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.”

Does this mean that before the elections start, as long as the PAP or any other Opposition party abide by the rules set by the “premise owner” or landlords, they are allowed to display the flags of any political party so long it does not promote any particular candidate for the upcoming elections?

In that case, why are Opposition parties not displaying their own political flags or seeking permission from premise owners to do so? Do Opposition parties have places of their own to hang their own flags?

Chow CY
A.S.S. Contributor

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