explain': Worker's Party call to public prosecutor
Straits Times: July 15, 1997.
THE Workers' Party (WP) has called on the Public Prosecutor to hold a press conference to explain why the complaints it lodged against several People's Action Party (PAP) men during the General Election on Jan 2 were dismissed by the police last Thursday. The complaints had alleged that PAP men who were not standing in Cheng San GRC, Bukit Gombak and MacPherson were present at the polling stations in these wards.
A WP statement yesterday wanted the Public Prosecutor "to explain why it was not an offence for Mr Goh Chok Tong, BG Lee Hsien Loong and Dr Tony Tan to stand, not only within the grounds of the station, but also to enter into the polling area to observe voters casting their votes".
On the advice of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), the police had dismissed the complaints last week, saying that there was no provision in the Parliamentary Elections Act for any offence of unauthorised entry into, or presence within, a polling station.
But yesterday's two-page WP statement pointed out that section 82 of the Parliamentary Elections Act said that: "No person shall wait outside any polling station on polling day, except for the purpose of gaining entry to the polling station to cast his vote."
It also quoted the paragraph in the Act that said: "No person shall loiter in any street or public place within a radius of 200 metres of any polling station on polling day."
The statement, signed by WP chief J. B. Jeyaretnam, said that the party was "amazed" that the police had ruled that no offence had been disclosed in five police reports filed, including two made by the Singapore Democratic Party.
It also noted that the complaint against the PAP leaders and members was not that they were exchanging greetings and shaking hands with voters in the polling stations. Instead, it was that under the law they had no business to be present within the polling stations' precincts when they were not the wards' candidates.
Noting that the law made it an offence for non-voters to wait or loiter within a radius of 200m outside a polling station, the WP asked if the Public Prosecutor was suggesting that it was acceptable for them to enter the grounds of the polling station and loiter there instead.
"If that is how the provisions are to be interpreted, all that can be said is that the law is an ass," it added.
Published in the Straits Times. July 15, 1997