It was announced on The Online Citizen site that “Andrew Loh, who is currently helming our general election coverage, will be back in a hot seat very familiar to him: Editor-in-Chief of TOC.”
Such an announcement would be honey to the ears of diehard TOCians that take pride in not being TRians. With Joshua Chia at the helm since Andrew left, there really hasn’t been much to separate the two sites in terms of journalistic quality or intellectual analysis. The return of Kingmaker Andrew Loh is much needed.
Take their latest pseudo legal analysis of a Tin Pei Ling election candidacy introductory video. The writer draws Section 83 (chapter 218) of the Parliamentary Elections Act to make a point that Ms Tin contrived the act by ending the video statement with “… vote for me”.
Now, this article is annoying to me in 3 ways:
One, I actually thought they were right. Till I read the act for myself. Though I am not legally trained, I went to school and picked up basic reading and comprehension skills. The section is as follows:
Persons prohibited from conducting election activity
83. —(1) No person —
(a) attending a primary or secondary school as a student;
(b) against whom an order of supervision has been made under section 30(b) of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (Cap. 67);
(c) who is an undischarged bankrupt; or
(d) who is not a citizen of Singapore,
shall take part in any election activity.
(1A) An individual who is not a citizen of Singapore shall not knowingly publish or display, or knowingly cause or permit to be published or displayed, any election advertising in or among any electors in an electoral division during the period beginning with the day the writ of election is issued for an election and ending with the start of the eve of polling day at the election.
(2) No person shall conduct any election activity unless he is in possession of a written authority signed by a candidate or his election agent in Form 22 or Form 23, as the case may be, in the First Schedule; and such authority shall be issued only on or after the day of nomination.
Reading it as a whole, you can pretty much figure for yourself that the period in which these restrictions are in play begin from the issuance of the writ and end on the eve of nomination day. You can’t read sub-point (2) without first reading sub-point (1).
Even if you challenge this (period), surely you cannot dispute that the text indicates that although election advertising covers nearly everything, the law is guarding against “any election advertising in or among any electors in an electoral division”. So if Tin Pei Ling said, “dear Moulmein residents, please vote for me”, then you at least have a case. However, she was addressing the whole of Singapore.
The second reason I am pissed is that TOC forced me to write something reasonably intelligent and structured; in the process wasting what remaining good brain cells I have left.
The last – and most important – reason, is that they are attempting to bully and deprive me of a KateSpade-loving-PPS-shaging-Coffeeshop-orator MP. Shame Shame.