SINGAPORE: Election posters put up on lamp posts within certain premises of West Coast Town Council were removed for public safety reasons as they were "placed in areas where high traffic volume was expected", the Elections Department (ELD) said on Friday (Jul 3).
ELD also confirmed that the posters belonged to both the People's Action Party (PAP) and Progress Singapore Party (PSP).
ELD’s statement came in response to queries from CNA after a video circulating online showed PSP members removing posters in West Coast GRC.
In the video, which was posted on PSP West Coast’s Facebook page, a PSP election poster bearing the image of party chief Tan Cheng Bock was seen being taken down from a lamp post.
When asked why the poster was being removed, one of the individuals wearing a PSP shirt said this was done as instructed by West Coast Town Council.
Additionally, PSP said in the Facebook post that its team was ordered to “take down 50 PSP campaign posters”.
“Hours of hard work went down the drain,” it wrote.
ELD confirmed that the request came from the town council as the lamp posts are within its premises.
“Under the law, political parties and candidates are required to seek consent from premises owners (or) occupiers for posters and banners to be put up,” said an ELD spokesperson.
“In this case, ELD checked with West Coast Town Council, which is the premises owner (or) occupier where the said lamp posts are located. West Coast Town Council asked for the posters to be removed for public safety reasons, as they were affixed to open space lamp posts where high volume of traffic was expected,” the spokesperson added.
In response to CNA's queries, the town council said it was "concerned for the safety" of its residents because of "where and how" the posters were put up.
"The council has to ensure public safety in the premises it manages, for which it could be liable," it said. "We raised this concern with ELD and requested that the relevant posters be removed by both political parties."
READ: GE2020: PSP's Tan Cheng Bock tells PAP not to 'frighten Singaporeans' by saying opposition will form government
Observers are expecting a tight contest between PAP and PSP for West Coast GRC.
Dr Tan is part of a five-member PSP team together with Mr Jeffrey Khoo, Ms Hazel Poa, Mr Leong Mun Wai and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan. They will be up against a PAP team comprising Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, Ms Foo Mee Har, Mr Ang Wei Neng and Ms Rachel Ong.
"AN UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT": TAN CHENG BOCK
Speaking to reporters after greeting residents at Teck Whye Lane on Friday morning, Dr Tan Cheng Bock said that it was “an unfortunate incident”.
He said that when putting up the posters, the party adhered to instructions from ELD but he noted that some of the areas where the posters were put up are private.
“I think the town councils work within their powers and there are certain areas controlled by them, and we cannot go in,” said Dr Tan.
“They ask us to take out the posters, we do it and move them to another place. There’s no difficulty at all,” he added.