SINGAPORE: A fundraising event aimed at raising funds for cardboard collectors was cancelled by its organisers after the police said on Friday (Dec 13) that it would require a permit as it politicises a social cause.
The event - titled A Mile In Their Shoes – "Leaders of Singapore" Fundraiser Special - was due to take place on Saturday.
The event organisers Happy People Helping People had invited local political party representatives to collect cardboard across Singapore in areas like Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Chinatown, Jalan Besar and Bedok.
"Participants will get to experience cardboard collecting first-hand and hopefully will share their experiences in parliament and help solve the growing impoverished elderly problem among our senior citizens," it said in a Facebook post.
Police said in a statement early Friday evening that the event is purportedly only open to political party members.
"The organisers had also intended to open online donation accounts for each political party, so that donors can donate to the party of their choice, before the donations are distributed to cardboard collectors," it said.
The police added that Happy People Helping People is not a registered charity and does not have a licence under the House to House and Street Collections Act.
An update on the Happy People Helping People Facebook page posted on Thursday said that there would be representatives from the Progress Singapore Party, People’s Power Party, Singapore Democratic Party and the Reform Party.
"The event goes beyond simply helping cardboard collectors, and appears to be politicising a social cause," the police said.
It added that the the event would constitute a public assembly and would require a police permit under the Public Order Act.
The police said that Mr Nafiz was informed of the requirement for a permit and advised to submit the necessary applications on Thursday.
"Police have yet to receive any application for a permit to hold this event," they said.
Shortly after the police statement, the organisers wrote on Facebook: "It is unfortunate that we have to cancel this event tomorrow (Saturday) because the police did not want us to do this without a permit."
"Nevertheless, we will still be in Toa Payoh helping the old folks collect their cardboard boxes and we welcome anyone who wishes to join us to experience what it's like to be in their shoes," the post added.
Happy People Helping People is a group founded by Mr Mohammad Nafiz Kamarudin, who was investigated by the police in September 2019 for wearing T-shirts with messages against the death penalty at the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run.
The non-profit organisation says on its Facebook page that it has been helping needy seniors and organising monthly outings for them.
CNA has contacted Mr Nafiz for comment.
It is a criminal offence under the Public Order Act to take part in a public assembly or procession without a police permit.