SINGAPORE — Police reports have been filed against Iris Koh, founder of the Healing the Divide group which had opposed COVID-19 vaccination, and suspended lawyer M Ravi for allegedly publishing social media posts during the cooling-off period for the recent Presidential Election.
The Elections Department of Singapore (ELD) confirmed in a media release on Monday (2 October) that its assistant returning officer filed the police reports.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam had been elected as Singapore's ninth President last month, after securing 70.4 per cent of the votes.
Potential breaches during the cooling-off period
The cooling-off period started on 31 August midnight and continued until the close of polling at 8pm on 1 September. During this period, campaigning activities and new election advertising were prohibited to allow voters time for reflection on their choice for the Singapore President.
ELD said it had issued reminders regarding these restrictions. However, Koh and Ravi repeatedly shared online election advertising during the cooling-off period. This content was considered to "reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or prejudice the electoral success of a candidate or to otherwise enhance or prejudice the standing of a candidate".
On 31 August, Koh posted two identical videos on TikTok containing such content. Ravi shared one of Koh's videos on Facebook, in addition to three more videos on the same platform, all with similar content.
On Polling Day on 1 September, Ravi published a fifth video and another post on Facebook, both with similar content.
In a Reddit thread a month ago, users pointed out that Koh was also present at a viewing party held at the home of presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian, during which she accused journalists of biased reporting.
In response to these violations, the assistant returning officer issued correction directions to TikTok and Meta on 31 August and 1 September, instructing them to restrict access to Koh's two videos and Ravi's five videos and one post. Both TikTok and Meta complied with these correction directions.
Pending charges for Koh and Ravi
Both Koh and Ravi have pending charges against them. Koh is accused of conspiring with a doctor to provide false information about vaccination status.
At the same time, Ravi faces charges related to an incident where he allegedly slapped a man near an MRT station and engaged in disorderly behaviour.
ELD stated that the police may initiate investigations to determine whether Koh and Ravi have committed any offences under the Presidential Elections Act during the cooling-off period.
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