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Friday, August 13, 2010

Summary by Law Minister on reply from Singapore's attorney general statement on presence of unauthorised persons inside polling stations


On 21 Jul 1997, Singapore's Law Minister S. Jayakumar summarise a text by the attorney general on the presence of unauthorised persons inside polling stations. The summary was made in a rely to a query in parliament from non-constituency MP and Workers' Party chief J. B. Jeyaretnam 30 July 1997. Opposition party, the Workers' Party, had complained to the police that Mr Goh Chok Tong, Dr Tony Tan and Brigadier-General (NS) Lee Hsien Loong had been inside a Cheng San GRC polling station on Polling Day. Back in those days, Mr Goh was the Prime Minister while Mr Lee Hsien Loong was the Deputy Prime Minister.

It was said that the presence of the two People's Action Pary (PAP) candidates in a polling station had broken the law. However, the Public Prosecutor recently advised the police that the PAP leaders had not broken the law. The question raised was why such conduct was not an offence under paragraph (d) or (e) of section 82(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act.

Section 39 (4): "the presiding officer shall keep order in his station and shall regulate the number of voters to be admitted a time, and shall exclude all other persons except the polling agent or agents of each candidate, the Returning Officer and persons authorised in writing by the Returning Officer, the police officers on duty and other persons officially employed at the polling station".

Section 39 (7): "any person who misconducts himself in the polling station, or fails to obey the lawful orders of the presiding officer may be removed from the polling station by a police officer acting under the orders of the presiding officer. If an unauthorised person refuses to leave the polling station when told to do so by the public officer, he commits an offence under section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his duty".

Section 82 (1)(d): "No person shall wait outside any polling station on polling day, except for the purpose of gaining entry to the polling station to cast his vote".

Section 82 (1)(e): "No person shall loiter in any street or public place within a radius of 200 metres of any polling station on polling day".

Suppose the three PAP ministers were unauthorised persons, then they must had parachuted in to be not within a radius of 200 metres of any polling station on polling day!

Unauthorised persons inside polling stations: Attorney General's letter [via]

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