Police stops Potong Pasir petition

The ongoing petition calling for a by-election in Potong Pasir has been stopped by the police on Tuesday evening.

According to witnesses, plainclothes police officers were seen at the void deck of block 108, Potong Pasir Avenue 1, where Mr Chiam See Tong conducts his Meet-the People Session (MPS).

Singapore People's Party (SPP) member Alex Tan, 23, who was present the scene, told Yahoo! Singapore that after receiving news that people were gathering in the area, he went to the Potong Pasir Town Council at Blk 121 to speak to three plainclothes police officers from the Tanglin Division.

They told him that the petition could not be carried out in public as it is considered illegal, and could only be done indoors or at the Speakers' Corner.

Some of the 30 to 40 supporters who were at the scene eventually left while a few others remained behind.

"While some people understood and left, there were others who remained in the area. Some were angry when told that they had to disperse," said Tan.

He added that SPP members are not supposed to be involved in the petition and he was there to try and disperse the crowd after finding out about the gathering.

Yahoo! Singapore understands that members of the party's CEC were unaware of the petition signing and were attending a "GE thank you" dinner for volunteers.

Police confirmed that a resident had called them to report a commotion at the void deck area of block 108 in Potong Pasir.

"It was established that there was a dispute among residents arising from a petition signing earlier. Police then warned the parties concerned that what they are doing may constitute to an illegal public assembly, and advised them to discontinue and disperse immediately. Police are investigating into the incident," said Singapore Police Force spokesperson, Humphrey Sew.

Potong Pasir resident Jed Senthil, 25, a tutor, witnessed the commotion. He said, "The police questioned some people who were there but there was no standoff between the police and residents."

Another witness, who only wanted to be known as Jane, said, "There was no angry mob or whatsoever, just a heated debate between two guys which attracted a large crowd around them."

The petition organisers have since terminated the drive till further notice and have posted a message on its Facebook page, urging residents to remain 'calm and non-confrontational'.

The petition signing was planned from 4 pm to 8.30pm on Monday. It was organised after Saturday's polls saw the People's Action Party Sitoh Yi Pin defeat Singapore People's Party (SPP) candidate Lina Chiam by a mere 114 votes.

A Facebook page was also set up to call for a Potong Pasir by-election and it has garnered over 13,000 'likes' so far.

Additional reporting by Faris Mokhtar

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