Singapore GE2020: Police Complaints 'Lodged' Against Heng Swee Keat and PAP as Poll Campaign Peaks

DPM Heng was reported for his comment in 2019 on 'Singapore not ready for non-Chinese PM' and PAP for its statement on WP candidate Raeesah Khan

With just three days to go for Singapore General Election 2020 polling day, the battle to win over voters has intensified. While politicians are fighting it on debate and counter comments, supporters are making waves with police reports and counter complaints.

It all started with two police reports being filed against opposition Workers' Party candidate Raeesah Khan, who is contesting from Sengkang GRC, on July 5. Khan allegedly made comments that are racial. While she apologized, the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) demanded an explanation from WP on her remarks.

But WP secretary-general Pritam Singh stood by her. Following PAP's statement, there have been two police complaints against them. Someone filed a complaint against Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat for his remarks in 2019 while another police report was filed against PAP's statement on Khan.

Complaint Against DPM Heng

As the Khan saga unfolded, it was revealed that the police complaints raised against her were for her comments on social media that she made in 2018 and in May this year. Similarly, someone pointed out that Heng, who is tipped to be the successor of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the near future, made a comment that was of dividing in nature.

Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Heng Swee Keat
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Heng Swee Keat facebook/@Heng Swee Keat

During a question-answer session at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on March 28, 2019, Heng replied to Assistant Professor Walid Jumblatt Abdullah's query if it was Singaporeans or PAP not ready for a non-Chinese PM. Heng responded to the question saying it was Singaporeans who weren't ready.

"I do think that at the right time when enough people think that we may have a minority leader, a minority who becomes the leader of the country, that is something that we can all hope for," he said, adding that the young generation seemed to be "quite comfortable" with a non-Chinese PM.

The question was raised because at that time, Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the popular choice to succeed PM Lee as per a 2016 survey conducted by market research consultancy Blackbox. Out of 900 respondents, 69 percent were in favor of Shanmugaratnam.

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However, the complainant believed that Heng's answer was discriminatory in nature and was "socially divisive." The person further added that being from a minority race, he/she felt unsafe in Singapore.

"I believe his comment promotes enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. This comment unknowingly or knowingly promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion or race, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious or racial groups," the unidentified person added in the complaint.

While the screenshots of the police report were widely circulated online, Singapore Police Force, so far, hasn't clarified if they actually received such a complaint.

Report Against PAP Statement on Khan

Someone also reported against the PAP statement on Khan, seeking clarification from WP on her alleged comments. A Facebook user claimed that he had filed a police report against PAP's statement as he believed that it promoted enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race.

"The purpose of this report is to hold the PAP accountable for an 'offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race under Section 298A of the Penal Code' as well as the spreading of online falsehoods," he said.

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While Khan apologized, she said that she didn't say she spread racial enmity. Instead, she was sorry for making 'insensitive' and 'improper' comments.

"By falsely accusing Ms Raeesah Khan of admitting to something she did not, this PAP statement itself promotes enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race by promoting false narratives which seek to divide rather than unite Singaporeans," he added in his police report.

Singapore Police hasn't yet clarified if they have received such a report.