GE2015: Election rallies, getai shows must be kept separate: Police

Nicholas Yong
·Assistant News Editor
Employees from a nearby office building burn offerings to mark the Hungry Ghost Festival in Singapore on August 8, 2014. Superstition comes to the fore during the month-long Hungry Ghost Festival, which traditionally begins this time of year. Chinese superstition holds that the gates of hell are opened for spirits to wander across the mortal realm before they return to the underworld. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

Campaigning for the general election and holding variety performances for the Hungry Ghost Festival must not coincide, say police, who also released new rules on general election rallies.

Getai performances are "strictly not allowed before, during or after election rallies," as stipulated under the Public Order (Election Meetings) Regulations 2009, the Singapore Police Force said in a statement on Friday.

The police added that event organisers must also "ensure that no speeches intended to canvass support for election candidates and/or political parties are delivered (at) Seventh Month Festival events".

The Hungry Ghost Festival this year runs from Friday, August 14, till September 12. The election is widely expected to be held within the next few weeks. Getai performances typically consist of live performances of Hokkien songs, witty banter and even pole dancing.

Meanwhile, the police also said that the ballot method used to allocate rally sites in the 2012 and 2013 by-elections will be used for GE 2015.

To ensure that every party and candidate will have more opportunities to use their preferred rally sites on their preferred dates, a ‘give-way’ rule will be implemented.

This means parties that have been allocated a site will have to ‘give way’ to other applicants that apply for the same site at the same time slot on the following day.

And to ensure that every contesting party/independent candidate in each constituency can hold at least one outdoor rally within the last two to three nights of campaigning, a ‘block ballot’ method will also be implemented in constituencies where the number of contesting parties or independent candidates is more than the number of election rally sites.

Under the ‘block ballot’ method, the last two to three nights for rally sites will be grouped together for application as a block. Contesting parties/independent candidates can only apply for one site on one night within the block.

The allocation of outdoor assembly centre sites on Counting Night will also be done via ballot.

Details on the application and allocation process for rally sites and assembly centre sites will be released after the Writ of Election is issued.