The Singapore Embassy in Jakarta on Sunday (Jun 5) denied claims that two Indonesian activists were detained at Changi Airport on Saturday, saying the pair were denied entry into Singapore as they were intending to carry out political activities in the city-state.
“Two members of ‘Teman Ahok’ were not detained while they were in Singapore,” said the statement issued by the embassy. “They arrived in Singapore on Jun 4, 2016, and were interviewed by Singapore officials.
“They informed immigration authorities that they were in Singapore to conduct political activities including raising campaign funds. They were therefore denied entry into Singapore and arrangements were made for them to return to Indonesia.
“They were aware that they were not allowed to conduct any political activities in Singapore but nevertheless still decided to travel to Singapore,” it said.
Teman Ahok, or "Friends of Ahok", is a volunteer-run group campaigning for Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to run as an independent candidate in the 2017 gubernatorial election.
In order to run on an independent slate, candidates are by law required to collect 532,000 photocopies of identity cards of Jakarta residents. According to the Jakarta Post, Teman Ahok has collected 900,000 photocopies to date.
Ahok, who was vice-governor of the Indonesian capital when Joko Widodo was governor, assumed the governorship in 2014 when the latter was elected as the seventh President of Indonesia. In September 2014, Ahok left the Gerindra party and has been politically unaffiliated since.
On Saturday, numerous social media posts in Indonesia alleged that the two Indonesians were detained at Changi Airport.
'LAW SHOULD BE RESPECTED': INDONESIAN EMBASSY
The Indonesian Embassy in Singapore also issued a statement saying that the pair were “not detained” in Singapore, and reiterated that "Singapore law forbids political activities from being conducted in Singapore, and this law should be respected".
The statement added: "The embassy had been in communication with Singapore authorities to facilitate their return to Jakarta on Jun 4, 2016. However, because of technical difficulties in the field, the two activists could not return on the last Garuda flight departing Singapore and would depart on the first Garuda flight out of Singapore on Jun 5, 2016, instead.
"Singapore immigration authorities had provided accommodation and sufficient services to the two activists."
The Singapore Embassy in Jakarta also underlined Singapore’s strong stance against the importation of foreign politics into Singapore.
"We will not allow foreigners to use Singapore as a platform to conduct any political activities. Any contravention of this by any individual will be dealt with in accordance with our laws."