S’porean influencers advised on content about Gaza conflict, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

S’porean influencers advised on content about Gaza conflict

On Feb 15, social media influencer Camira Asrori put up a video on her Instagram and TikTok accounts about her run-in with the Singapore authorities after attending a pro-Palestine protest in Japan.

Another influencer, Ms Dahlia Mohd, said in a comment on Ms Camira’s post that she had also been questioned by the authorities after someone lodged a complaint against her posts and fund-raiser.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) confirmed that both were advised by the authorities.

MHA said: “Camira Asrori was advised against encouraging Singaporeans to protest overseas, because we have seen that such activities can lead to public disorder and even violence, and protesters risk running afoul of the laws of the country, and putting themselves in harm’s way.”

The fashion entrepreneur, 29, who has more than 27,300 followers, said the authorities stopped her at a checkpoint on her return to Singapore.

In the clip, which has garnered more than 1.35 million plays, she said she was told that her post on attending the protest encouraged Singaporeans to protest overseas and that doing so might jeopardise their safety. She did not reveal which government agency was involved in the questioning.

On Ms Dahlia, who is in her early 40s, MHA said there may be organisations or charities that are using the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict as a cover to fund terrorist activities, or simply to scam victims of money.

“While the Government supports and encourages donations for humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza, Dahlia Mohd was advised to verify the organisations or charities to which she donates, and to donate to officially verified ones, so that she does not unwittingly provide financial support for terrorist groups,” said MHA.

Under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, it is an offence for Singapore citizens to directly or indirectly collect assets if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the assets will be used for carrying out any terrorist act.

Ms Dahlia, who has nearly 20,000 followers, crowdfunded between Nov 7 and Dec 31, 2023, for humanitarian aid for the people of Palestine through Malaysian non-governmental organisation Cinta Gaza Malaysia, set up by activist Muhammad Nadir Al-Nuri Kamaruzaman.

In his Budget speech on Feb 16, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong introduced a new scheme in which donations to overseas humanitarian relief efforts through designated charities will qualify for 100 per cent tax deduction.

Such charities should have emergency humanitarian assistance as part of their objectives to qualify, as well as enhanced governance and controls against illicit fund flows, said the Ministry of Finance.

A list of designated charities will be published from Jan 1, 2025.

Israel-Palestineprotestssocial mediaMinistry of Home Affairs