Fund-raising event for cardboard collectors politicising cause, permit needed: police

(PHOTO: HPHP/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — Organisers behind an upcoming event aimed at raising funds for cardboard collectors will need to apply for a police permit as it “appears to be politicising a social cause”, said police on Friday (13 December).

The five-hour fundraising event, titled A Mile In Their Shoes – ‘Leaders of Singapore’ Fundraiser Special, was slated to happen on Saturday across various districts, including Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Chinatown, and Jalan Besar.

According to the non-profit organisation behind the event, Happy People Helping People, invitations were sent to various political parties in Singapore – People's Action PartyThe Workers' PartySingapore Democratic PartySingapore People's Party, National Solidarity PartyThe Reform PartyProgress Singapore Party, and People's Power Party – to send a representative from their party to participate in the event.

“Only members who will be participating in the upcoming election can participate,” it said in a Facebook post on its page. Several opposition politicians who have indicated their participation included PPP’s Goh Meng Seng, SDP’s Bryan Lim Boon Heng and Reform Party’s Darren Soh.

The PAP and WP reportedly did not reply to the invitations, according to the organisation in its reply to a reader.

Each participant was to be attached to a cardboard collector “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 added.

Members of the public were called to donate to different Give.Asia accounts representing the participants “to support their parties”.

“As the event goes beyond simply helping cardboard collectors, and appears to be politicising a social cause, the police assessed that the event would constitute a public assembly, and would, therefore, require a Police permit under the Public Order Act,” said the police in their Facebook post.

The police noted that they have informed Happy People Helping People’s founder Mohammad Nafiz Kamarudin on Thursday that a police permit was required for the event and had advised him to put in the necessary applications.

“Police have yet to receive any application for a permit to hold this event,” they said.

The police added that the organisation is not a registered charity and has not applied for any licence under the House to House and Street Collections Act.

In response on its Facebook page, the organisation called it “unfortunate” that the event was cancelled.

“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,” it added on a Facebook post.

Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to Nafiz and the various participants for comment. In September, Nafiz was investigated by authorities for wearing a T-shirt bearing a message against the death penalty during the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run.

It is a criminal offence under the Public Order Act to organise or participate in a public assembly without a police permit.

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