The Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods has invited seventy-nine individuals and organisations, including local and foreign experts, media organisations, tech companies, telcos, community groups and members of the public to give oral evidence in the public hearings on the topic of deliberate online falsehoods starting on Wednesday (14 March).
The event sees the highest number of witnesses invited by a Select Committee in Singapore, as well as the highest number of written representations by a Select Committee – 164 submissions – over one-and-a-half months.
Before this, a Select Committee convened in 1988 to scrutinise two bills to allow for group representative constituencies had held the record of 99 written representations.
The Committee stated that members of the public may witness the hearings from 11 am on Wednesday (14 March) and 10 am on all other days (15, 16, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 March).
Academics from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU), as well as representatives from religious groups will kickstart the hearing as they are all scheduled to speak on the first day.
Below is the schedule of the hearing:
The Committee noted that the sittings commence at 1.30pm and continue until Parliament adjourns. Admission Orders are issued on a first-come-first-served basis at the Public Entrance Lobby.
Visitors should bring along their identity card or passport to exchange for an Admission Order. Visitors shall dress modestly. No admission will be granted to anyone wearing singlet, shorts, slippers/sandals or attired in clothing bearing inappropriate words, slogans or symbols, including those bearing political party affiliation. Photography is not allowed in the Parliament House.
Visitors are required to deposit their bags and belongings, including electronic devices such as handphones with camera features into the lockers available at the Terrace. Lockers are chargeable at 40 cents (small-sized lockers) and 60 cents (medium-sized lockers) for one-time use only. The lockers only accept 20-cent coins.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had earlier tabled a motion in Parliament on the need to convene the team. The composition of the Select Committee to be a default position is for 10 members, comprising of eight Government MPs, one Opposition MP and one NMP.
The Committee is chaired by Deputy Speaker Mr Charles Chong and comprise of members; Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and for Education Janil Puthucheary, Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee, Members of Parliament (MPs) Rahayu Mahzam, Seah Kian Peng, Sun Xueling and Edwin Tong, as well as Workers' Party MP Pritam Singh and Nominated Member of Parliament Chia Yong Yong.
The committee will present a report to Parliament after the public hearings. Past committees have taken about five to six months following the hearings to submit their reports.