Monday, July 15, 2024

Report filed against Indian-origin lawyer for posts during Singapore poll day eve

A police report has been filed against a suspended Indian-origin lawyer for publishing multiple posts on social media during the cooling-off period before the Singapore presidential election.

Ravi Madasamy, 54, had repeatedly published election advertising material online during the cooling-off period of the election, the Elections Department (ELD) said on Monday.

Following this, the Assistant Returning Officer lodged police reports against Madasamy for potential offences committed under Section 42C of the Presidential Elections Act, The Straits Times newspaper reported.

In Singapore, it is illegal to put up paid or unpaid election advertising on the eve of polling day, or cooling-off period, for the presidential election.

This year’s cooling-off period started on August 31 at 12 a.m., and ended with the close of polling day on September 1 at 8 p.m. Madasamy — who had endorsed Tan Kin Lian at the recent presidential election — had put up “content that can reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or prejudice the electoral success of a candidate or to otherwise enhance or prejudice the standing of a candidate”, the ELD said.

On the cooling-off day, he shared four videos on Facebook with similar content, and one of them was by Iris Koh, founder of anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide.

Report has also been filed against Koh for sharing the video on TikTok.

Madasamy also published a fifth video and another post on Facebook, both containing such content, on the day of the polling as well.

According to The Times, the Assistant Returning Officer had instructed TikTok and Facebook on August 31 and September 1 to disable access in Singapore to the social media post and videos, the ELD said, adding that the directions were complied with.

Those found guilty of publishing election advertising content during the cooling-off period can be fined up to SG$1,000 or jailed for not more than 12 months, or both.

Last month, Madasamy was charged after he allegedly slapped a woman on her cheek and shouted vulgarities at a Hindu temple in Singapore’s South Bridge Road.

A lawyer for 20 years, Ravi has been currently serving the maximum suspension of five years for making “grave and baseless accusations of improper conduct” against the Attorney-General, officers from the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Law Society.

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