Residents in Aljunied GRC received a surprise on Friday when they received pamphlets from People’s Action Party’s (PAP) activists encouraging them to question Workers’ Party (WP) Members of Parliament regarding allegations of financial mismanagement and improper corporate governance of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC). There’s just one problem with this; I think this is against the law.
Laws against election advertising is very strict in Singapore with campaigning only allowed once candidates have been nominated for an election and it must end one day before the polls are conducted. As the pamphlets were made and distributed by activists from the PAP against a rival political party, this seems on the surface to be totally illegal under the Parliamentary Elections Act.
To their credit, the PAP has tried to defend their activists with several netizens (presuming from the PAP) pointing out that many opposition parties also regularly send out newsletters and pamphlets. There’s only one big problem with that argument; the opposite sell and distributed all over Singapore. They do not sell and distributed in a certain constituency, targeting on one specific issue.
I also disagree with the argument that the pamphlet is not campaigning. Everyone in Singapore believe that a General Election will be call before the end of the year, and is it a coincidence that these pamphlets were distributed at the sole constituency the PAP lost to the opposition? Common sense tells you otherwise.
The strange thing is that this is a totally unnecessary move by the PAP. Not only do polls (conducted by the pro-government Strait Times) indicate that residents in Aljunied do not care about the issue, most Singaporeans don't care too. Harping on this issue does more harm than help the PAP cause of taking back Aljunied GRC.
In short, this move by the PAP makes no sense.