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SINGAPORE: Local rapper Subhas Nair will be charged next Monday (Nov 1) with four counts of attempting to promote feelings of ill-will between different groups on grounds of religion and race.

In a media release, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) detailed four incidents involving the 29-year-old.

On Jul 25, 2020, Mr Nair posted comments on his social media account in response to a video of Chinese Christians who had made hateful comments against another community.

He allegedly commented that Malay Muslims who make the same hateful comments would be treated differently by the authorities compared to the Chinese Christians, said the authorities.

In another incident on Oct 15, 2020, Mr Nair was alleged to have attempted to promote feelings of ill-will between Chinese and Indians by claiming that a Chinese suspect involved in the murder of an Indian man at Orchard Towers on Jul 2, 2019 received lenient treatment by the authorities by virtue of his race.

On Mar 11 this year, while already under police investigations relating to the post on Oct 15, 2020, Mr Nair exhibited a cartoon drawing of the aforementioned post during an indoor stage performance “to promote feelings of ill-will between Chinese and Indians”, said the police.

For publishing a “racially-charged” rap video attempting to promote feelings of ill-will between Chinese and other races, Mr Nair was issued a 24-month conditional warning on Aug 14, 2019 under a section of the Penal Code dealing with the maintenance of racial harmony, said SPF.

“One of the terms of the warning stipulates that if he reoffends, he may be prosecuted for the offence for which he was warned, in addition to prosecution for the alleged fresh offences,” said the police.

 After breaching the conditions of the warning by allegedly committing the three offences following the warning, he will now be charged for the incident on Jul 29, 2019.

The rap video in question, which Subhas fronted, was a response to a controversial advertisement by NETS promoting E-Pay.

The advertisement sparked a backlash online because Chinese actor Dennis Chew was dressed up as four characters, including a Malay woman and an Indian man. To portray these characters, Chew’s skin was made up to look darker. 

If convicted of attempting to promote feelings of ill-will between different groups on grounds of religion or race, Mr Nair faces a jail term of up to three years, a fine, or both.

“Allegations that the law or law enforcement agencies accord differential treatment based on religion or race are baseless and have the potential to damage religious and racial harmony in Singapore and erode public trust in our law enforcement agencies,” said the police, adding that action will be taken against those who make such baseless allegations.

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