SINGAPORE, Nov 1 — Rapper Subhas Nair, 29, was charged today with four counts of attempting to promote feelings of ill-will between different religious and racial groups, after he was said to have breached the conditions of a previous police warning over a 2019 rap video he made with his sister Preeti Nair.
The police prosecutor told the court that the prosecution was prepared to offer a plea deal to proceed with two charges, with the other two to be taken into consideration during sentencing.
Nair’s lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam did not say if his client would accept the deal and plead guilty, and asked for an adjournment to take instructions from him.
The hip-hop musician, whose full name is Subhas Govin Prabhakar Nair, released his debut album in 2018 titled Not a Public Assembly, which touches on socio-political issues in Singapore.
His sister accompanied him to court on Monday. Also known by her moniker Preetipls, she is a well-known online personality who runs a YouTube channel on which Subhas occasionally appears.
Nair was offered a bail of S$10,000 (RM30,719.24) and the case will be heard again on November 29.
Last Thursday, the police said in a statement that Nair had allegedly made racial comments and social media posts in three new instances last year and this year.
In doing so, he had breached a 24-month conditional warning that the police had issued to him and his sister on August 14, 2019 over the rap video they made in response to a “brownface” controversy that involved Mediacorp artiste Dennis Chew.
The police had listed three new offences allegedly committed by Nair:
- On July 25, 2020, Nair posted comments on social media responding to a video of Chinese Christians who had made hateful comments against another community. He allegedly said that Malay Muslims who make the same hateful comments would have been treated differently by the authorities
- On Oct 15, 2020, Nair was said to have tried to promote feelings of ill-will between Chinese and Indians after he commented on the Orchard Towers murder case on July 2. He allegedly claimed that one of the Chinese accused persons involved in the murder of an Indian man received lenient treatment by the authorities due to his race
- On March 11, 2021, Nair allegedly tried to promote feelings of ill-will between Chinese and Indians by showing a cartoon drawing of his October 15 social media post during an indoor stage performance, while he was being investigated by the police for that same post
The police had said then: “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.”
Under Section 298A(a) of the Penal Code, those convicted of attempting to promote feelings of ill-will between different groups on grounds of religion or race may be jailed up to three years or fined, or both. — TODAY