Death threat for couple who organised petition for 'Lee Kuan Yew Day'

UPDATE (10.20PM): The website has been restored and the online petition is now re-opened.

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean couple who started an online petition for an annual public holiday to honour the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew have taken the websites offline after rumours circulated that the petition was a scam, reported local media.

Mr John Lim is the the president of the Academy of Certified Counsellors and his wife, Madam Tan Lay Geok is the principal of the ACC School of Counselling and Psychology. They had started the online petition in their personal capacities.

The accusations went out of hand when Madam Tan received a death-threat via e-mail. The couple then decided to file a police report.

The two websites and had collected more than 1,600 signatures and contained the e-mail addresses, NRIC and telephone numbers of participants as well as that of Mr Lim and Madam Tan.

The couple first initiated the online petition on March 29 but pulled their two websites down after an anonymous e-mail accusing them of breaching Singapore's Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) went viral.

The e-mail accused the couple of scheming to collect personal information and pointed out that the overseas website hosting company which the petition was on, enabled them to skirt past the jurisdiction of the PDPA.

Mr Lim told The Straits Times that he had requested for personal data to ensure that those who signed the petition were Singaporeans and permanent residents. He added that the telephone numbers were required for random checks.

"We have a privacy clause not to use the data for purposes other than the petition, and we will observe the Personal Data Protection Act and other laws on the information we collect," he said.

Mr Lim also told Channel NewsAsia that the Privacy Policy was clearly stated on the websites and on the petition's Facebook page, Petition For LKY Day. He said, "We are going according to the petition rules in Singapore - even my personal data is there. I signed the petition as well."

The overseas company suspended the petition after the allegations of the scams circulated but Mr Lim hopes to revive it after clearing the air.

"We are just simple folks who want to do something to help the young remember the timeless values and principles that LKY embraced for the development of this nation - such as integrity, space for every race and religion", he said.

Despite the inconvenience caused, Mr Lim told The Straits Times: "I choose to believe that the person who sent out the scam warning did so to protect Singaporeans so the intention was a good one. But I wished he had contacted me first because my name and e-mail address was on the petition."