S'pore govt clarifies GE2020 candidates not required to submit e-rally scripts beforehand

Members of the Progress Singapore Party voiced out against the alleged requirement.

Kayla Wong| June 29, 2020, 05:32 PM

There is no need for political parties and candidates to submit their scripts to the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) for Internet campaigning, the Singapore government clarified on Sunday, June 28.

Parties & candidates briefed on this before

The government also explained, via a statement on gov.sg, that Mediacorp is required to have political parties submit their scripts ahead of recording their Party Political Broadcasts on TV.

"This is to ensure that contents do not contain libellous statements or statements that may cause racial or religious tensions," they said.

"This has been the same arrangement in place since the 1980s."

In addition, the government said parties and candidates have been briefed on this on Friday, June 26.

The Elections Department Singapore (ELD) announced on June 18 that while the 2020 General Election will not feature physical rallies, candidates can hold e-rally livestreams at venues provided by the government.

PSP claimed need for scripts to be submitted in advance

The clarification was in response to a rumour that scripts of e-rally speeches have to be submitted to the government two days in advance.

Members of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), such as Lee Hsien Yang and secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock, have expressed their concerns over the alleged requirement.

"My god, they would know what I'm going to say," Tan said at a walkabout at Holland Village on Saturday, June 27.

He said: "I don't know how they want to make Singaporeans believe that this is a fair election."

PSP's candidate for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Michael Chua, on the other hand, repeated the claim, saying that the nature of e-rallies require the scripts to be submitted to "IMDA or Mediacorp".

The requirement is "disturbing", he added.

Since then, a Change.org petition calling for the requirement to be removed has been created.

It has received more than 12,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon, June 29.

Doubts cast on Tan's claim

Echoing the government's clarification on the claim, Singapore's retired diplomat Bilahari Kausikan has voiced out his opinion on the issue as well, saying Tan "could not have been unaware of requirements that have been in place since 1980".