Police reports filed against Iris Koh, M Ravi for posts during PE2023 cooling-off period
The Assistant Returning Officer has filed police reports against Iris Koh, founder of anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide, and suspended lawyer Ravi Madasamy, who is also known as M. Ravi.
The pair – who had endorsed Mr Tan Kin Lian at the recent presidential election – had repeatedly published election advertising material online during the cooling-off period of the election, the Elections Department (ELD) said on Monday.
It is illegal to put up paid or unpaid election advertising during the cooling-off period for the presidential election in Singapore. This year’s cooling-off period started from Cooling-off Day on Aug 31, at 12am, and ended with the close of polling on Polling Day on Sept 1 at 8pm.
Despite reminders on the prohibition on campaigning activity and election advertising, Koh and Ravi had put up “content that can 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”, ELD said.
On Cooling-off Day, Koh had published two duplicate videos on TikTok with such content.
On the same day, Ravi shared Koh’s video on Facebook, as well as three videos on Facebook with similar content.
On Polling Day, Ravi also published a fifth video and another post on Facebook, both containing such content.
ELD said the Assistant Returning Officer had instructed TikTok and Meta, which owns Facebook, on Aug 31 and Sept 1 to disable access in Singapore to the social media post and videos.
Under the Presidential Elections Act, the Returning Officer can order an online post to be removed or restrict access to it if he finds that the content contravenes the Act.
Both TikTok and Meta complied with these directions, ELD added.
The Assistant Returning Officer has lodged police reports against Koh and Ravi for potential offences committed under Section 42C of the Presidential Elections Act.
Those found guilty of publishing election advertising content during the cooling-off period can be fined up to $1,000 or jailed for not more than 12 months, or both.
The Straits Times has contacted the police for more details.
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam won the Sept 1 election by a landslide, scoring about 70 per cent of the valid votes, and was sworn in as President on Sept 14.