SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of Singapore has issued a strict reminder that the display or wearing of foreign national emblems related to the Israel-Hamas conflict is an offence without a permit.
In a recent advisory, the MHA underscored the legal repercussions, stating that offenders could face imprisonment for up to six months and fines of up to $500 under the Foreign National Emblems (Control of Display) Act 1949. The same act empowers authorities to deny entry to travellers donning such insignia.
The MHA’s warning comes amidst an increase in online sales of apparel and paraphernalia featuring foreign national emblems linked to the ongoing war. Concerns have arisen within the community, prompting queries on whether enforcement action will be pursued against individuals who display such items.
The MHA responded, emphasizing the gravity of the matter: “In particular, promoting or supporting terrorism through the display of apparel or paraphernalia that carry logos of terrorist or militant groups, such as Hamas or its military wing Al-Qassam Brigades, will not be condoned.”
The ministry has advised the public against the display and wearing of items related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, describing it as an emotive issue. In a proactive move to channel public support constructively, the MHA has directed those eager to help to contribute to authorized fundraising activities.
Notable among these are efforts by the Singapore Red Cross Society (SRC) and the Rahmatan Lil Alamin (RLAF) Foundation, which have been permitted to raise funds for foreign charitable purposes.
As of 1 November, the RLAF has collected a record S$4.6 million to support communities in Gaza, with the fundraiser set to conclude on 17 November.
In a gesture of solidarity, the SRC announced the dispatch of US$200,000 (S$273,000) worth of relief supplies to the conflict zone, including hygiene kits, clean water, food, and medical supplies. The Government has also shown its support by contributing $300,000 towards these relief operations through the SRC.
Further regulations include a ban on assemblies at Speakers’ Corner regarding the conflict. Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim highlighted in Parliament that in the past three years, seven applications for events at Hong Lim Park were rejected, with five pertaining to last month’s conflict-related events.
Associate Professor Faishal explained, “Tensions are high and public demonstrations may inevitably advocate, or show more sympathy, for one side of the conflict or the other. They can spark off incidents on the ground. They also have the potential to divide us as Singaporeans. Once we allow one event, we will have to allow others.”
The government’s stance is backed by Parliament’s unanimous condemnation of violence against civilians in the Israel-Hamas conflict, with a collective voice from 21 MPs across parties including the People’s Action Party (PAP), Workers’ Party (WP), and Progress Singapore Party (PSP).
They participated in a debate on a motion about the conflict, which, after approximately six hours, was passed.
The toll of the conflict is harrowing. According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, the Palestinian death toll has reached 9,488, with ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra reporting in a press conference on Sunday (5 Nov), “The victims include 3,900 children and 2,509 women, while 24,000 other people were injured… Seventy percent of the victims of aggression are children, women, and elderly people.”
The Israeli army has expanded its air and ground attacks following a surprise offensive by Hamas on 7 October, which resulted in a civilian death toll of 1,400, including 220 individuals taken as hostages, as reported by Israeli officials.