New Naratif’s founder Dr Thum Ping Tjin (PJ Thum) was recently hauled up by police for investigations into supposedly “illegal” political advertisements during the GE2020 campaign period. PJ Thum was interrogated by police for hours and he was then escorted back home where his personal belongings like laptop were seized.
The sudden investigation and his treatment caused an online outcry. Netizens pointed out the double standards where certain pro-establishment individuals seemed to be spared while New Naratif had to face a thorough investigation after the Elections Department (ELD) filed a police complaint.
The latest to show their support for PJ Thum and New Naratif was the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). On the evening of 22 Sep 2020, SDP made a press release to decry the harassment of activists and independent journalists in Singapore. The SDP explained that PJ Thum was only exercising his rights as a citizen of Singapore to comment on the local political situation.
SDP said the ELD was acting in a partisan manner, and hit back at the ELD by suggesting the department should look into the “numerous incidents regarding the PAP” where elections rules may have been breached.
One of recent incident during GE2020 was a breach of election rules by the PAP minister Ong Ye Kung. He illegally featured a boy living in Sembawang for a campaign video on his Facebook page. However the millionaire minister was only issued an advisory and the police did not be take any further action after the video was taken down. It is therefore unlikely the minister had his home raided and equipment confiscated.