GE2020: Police reject event application for Chee Soon Juan to walk for 3 days to raise funds

Chee's Facebook post calling for donations has received some traction as a result.

Belmont Lay | June 25, 2020, 02:53 AM

The Singapore police confirmed on June 24 it rejected an application for the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to hold a “one-man public procession” outdoors from Friday to Sunday.

The event, named "Walk The Talk", was first brought to the public's attention by SDP’s secretary-general Chee Soon Juan.

He wrote about the police's rejection in a Facebook post shortly after receiving word from the authorities that the event had been turned down.

The purpose of the event was for Chee to “traverse the island on foot” to raise money for his party.

In 2015, he had conducted a similar fundraiser, Chee said.

Chee's post also provided the reasons given to him by the police.

Chee claimed the police told him: "The police said no because 'Cause-based activities, even if carried out by one individual, might cause crowds to gather, and put the public and participants at higher risk of Covid-19 infection.'"

Police response

“SDP’s event is cause-based, and therefore requires a permit,” the police said in response to media queries.

The Singapore Police Force spokesperson added: “Given the prevailing health situation and safe distancing measures in Phase 2 of post-circuit breaker, the police has not granted, and will not be granting, permits for any public assemblies or processions, regardless of the cause, whether political or non-political in nature, and regardless of the size of the participating group.”

The spokesperson also said that “cause-based activities, even if carried out by one individual, might cause crowds to gather, and put the public and participants at higher risk of Covid-19 infection”.

Chee poses query

Chee's Facebook post received more than 5,000 reactions in less than a day.

Chee also asked in his post if a difference existed between the event and him conducting a walkabout.

He asked: “If the authorities are afraid of activities that might cause crowds to gather during the COVID pandemic, why call for elections now?”

“The rejection of our application further curtails our effort to raise funds for our General Election campaign.”

Chee's post urged Singaporeans to contribute to the SDP fundraising effort.

Safe-distancing measures needed

The police spokesperson also said that political parties and individuals can continue with meet-and-greet activities, "so long as they adhere to the prevailing safe distancing measures”.

Such activities "had been going on even before the Covid-19 crisis", the police added.

The police spokesperson added that walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning are permitted.

These can be carried out as long as safety measures are observed, the police said, referring to the new rules by the Elections Department from earlier in June, for the upcoming General Election.

Chee announced on Sunday that he will be contesting in Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency (SMC) in the upcoming General Election.

Top photos via Chee Soon Juan