SINGAPORE — Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng will not face criminal charges for failing to apply for a permit to hold a placard calling for support to hawkers in Yishun.
Police previously said in March last year that they were investigating Ng if he might have broken a law under the Public Order Act over the incident at a hawker centre in 2020. Taking part in a public assembly without a police permit is illegal and an offence under the Act.
A person who is convicted of organising or taking part in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore under the Act, even if a demonstration is by only one person, can face a maximum fine of $5,000. Repeat offenders can face a fine of up to $10,000 or a maximum jail term of six months, or both.
An Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) spokesperson said that the AGC had directed the police to take no further action against Ng under the Act, according to a report on Wednesday (5 October) by The Straits Times.
"Investigations have revealed that Mr Ng was exercising his duty as a Member of Parliament, in expressing care and support for the welfare of the hawkers in his constituency during the COVID-19 pandemic," said the spokesman.
Ng had posted four pictures on Facebook in June 2020 of himself with hawkers at Yishun Park Hawker Centre, holding a piece of paper with a "support them" message and a smiley face.
In a statement on Facebook in March last year, he said that his aim in holding the placard and taking photos with the hawkers was to urge residents to support hawkers.
"Separately, in January this year, I also held up a sign for the climate change video introducing the first-ever parliamentary motion on climate change. To clarify, that sign was an empty piece of cardboard. The words were superimposed into the video which I posted," he added.
In November 2020, civil activist Jolovan Wham was handed two charges under the Act, one of which was for expressing support for Terry Xu, chief editor of the social-political website The Online Citizen (TOC), and Daniel De Costa, a writer of a defamatory TOC article. Xu and De Costa were jailed over the article.
Wham had held a sign outside the former State Courts building and a piece of cardboard with a smiley face drawn on it near a police centre at Toa Payoh.
He was given a discharge amounting to acquittal for the incident at Toa Payoh. Last month, he served 15 days behind bars instead of paying a $3,000 fine for the offence at the State Courts.
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