Unwise to ape sex bloggers' stunt here

SINGAPORE - Had Malaysian sex blogger Alvin Tan - a former National University of Singapore scholar - and his girlfriend posted a religiously-offensive photograph here, as they did in Malaysia, they would likely have been charged for their actions.

This is because Singapore's sedition laws are not too different from those in Malaysia, said lawyers here whom My Paper spoke to.

Tan, 25, and girlfriend Vivian Lee, 24, were arrested last Thursday by the Malaysian authorities and charged under the Sedition Act, the Penal Code and the Film Censorship Act.

The couple had posted a Ramadan greeting on Facebook that showed them eating pork, which is offensive to Muslims. The couple were also charged over posting of pornographic images online.

They were denied bail and jailed pending trial.

Mr Amolat Singh, managing partner of Amolat & Partners, said that if the couple had posted the offensive photo here, it could be a crime under Singapore's Sedition Act.

Last October, The Straits Times reported that the couple was investigated by the Malaysian authorities for making public their sexual activities.

Tan subsequently lost his university scholarship here.

Mr Bryan Tan, a partner with Pinsent Masons MPillay, said the sex bloggers "would probably have been called in for the Ramadan greeting post" if it was made here, as Singapore has a "very strict view regarding the maintenance of religious harmony".

Still, Mr Daniel Lim, a partner at Joyce A. Tan and Partners, said it is up to the discretion of the Singapore authorities to charge people.

On why the Malaysian authorities charged the couple over the pornographic images only last week, Mr Singh said they might have been prepared to give the duo a chance.

"However, the two continued to push the envelope. They became bolder," he said.

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