SINGAPORE: A 48-year-old man was fined S $ 1,000 on Thursday (February 4) for tampering with a People’s Action Party (PAP) poster in last year’s election, as part of the first pursuit of its kind.
In mitigation, Lim Song Huat said he did not specifically target the PAP poster, but was unable to reach the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) poster that was located above.
Lim blamed his actions on stress and his own “stupidity.”
He pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with an election poster under the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations. Two other similar charges were considered in the sentencing.
The court heard that Lim, a part-time security guard, left his Woodlands home on the morning of July 3 last year to purchase 4D tickets.
After that, he was on his way home when he walked past the PAP posters displayed under the SDP posters. Each poster costs S $ 10, the prosecutor said.
At 9:53 a.m., he picked up a stone on the road and tried to use it to tear up a poster with a picture of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, but to no avail.
He then used his hands to peel the poster off the support, removing more than half and destroying the poster. He also used a black pen to draw a horizontal line on another poster and tore up a third poster, allowing for charges.
The next morning, a police report was filed saying two posters had been vandalized and one fitted along the Woodlands 13 Street service road behind Marsiling High School.
CCTV cameras captured Lim committing the acts and he was arrested.
POSTING OF ELECTORAL POSTERS IS “TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE”: RULE
Deputy Prosecutor Selene Yap has called for a fine of up to S $ 1,000, saying the offenses were “incredibly difficult to detect” because the posters were placed in public spaces across Singapore.
“As Your Honor is well aware, election campaigns are highly regulated in Singapore,” she said. “It takes place over a short period of time, and the posting of posters in public places is highly regulated. There is a limit to how many posters parties can put up and how long they can put them up. . “
She said this background was important because Lim’s actions “deprive candidates of the opportunity to run for office.”
Lim, who was not represented, asked for a lighter sentence, saying it was his first offense and citing his “stupidity” and “stress at work”.
“Due to the influence of my coworker’s stupidity, that’s why I’m doing this stupid thing,” he said. “I also emailed the PAP side to volunteer as well.”
Asked by the judge about the reasons for his stress, Lim said: “Because I am a pure citizen of Singapore, I was born in Singapore … sometimes, whether it is elections or non-elections, sometimes the people’s opinion is like – you vote too It’s like we don’t have talented people. “
He admitted that the deputies of his region “did a good job” and installed “a lot of equipment”.
“You know it’s the PAP, the SDP, the Workers’ Party, we don’t have the talented people there,” Lim said. “So sometimes, as a member of the public, we worry that maybe in two years, five years, what will happen to Singapore to progress. So sometimes, out of frustration, you want to pour out the frustration, that’s Why. “
He added that he didn’t just want to destroy the PAP poster.
“Actually that day we have a poster (SDP), but because (I) couldn’t reach it,” he said. “I’m not just against the PAP. It’s because of the frustration. The voice in my head – my colleague (said) – you want to vote PAP or SDP.”
The judge said this was the first prosecution under this particular segment of the parliamentary elections law, and that the court must send a clear message that damaging, destroying or degrading election posters is “totally. unacceptable”.
“Although a person may have strong political views, this should be expressed through their votes at the ballot box or other legally sanctioned means,” he said.
For tampering with an election poster, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to S $ 1,000, or both.