In a Facebook post two weeks ago (26 May), Prominent Hong Kong journalist Susanna Cheung has alleged that someone has made use of her name to publish “fake news”.
She added that she would report the matter to the Police once she is in Singapore: “[Please] beware that someone is using my identity to create fake news both in English and Chinese. I will report to the police when I am in Singapore”.
The ‘fake news’ article in question was entitled “Mahathir’s Ploy! Singaporeans Beware!”. While not on any website, a quick Google search would show that cached versions are still available on some online forums.
‘Fake news’ seeks to defame Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir while praising Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Without offering concrete evidence, the ‘fake news’ has taken issue with Mahathir’s character while alluding that his administration is hypocritical and is looking to “add fuel to the Singapore political scene, and give the Opposition a push”.
Amongst the key claims was that the decision to abolish GST was nonsensical as it sought to replace it with a Sales and Service Tax* in its place. The ‘fake news’ wrote “stunningly, a few days later he said that Malaysia is saddled with a US$250 billion debt and asked Lim Guan Eng to implement the Sales and Service Tax!”
[Note: The Sales and Service Tax is imposed at the output level while the Goods and Services Tax is imposed at every level of the supply chain. This therefore places and administrative burden. While the input tax can be claimed from the GST, businessmen are more inclined to pass the costs onto consumers.]
The decision to reduce Ministerial salaries have also been deemed as useless as it questions “what good does it do to reduce the salaries of corrupt politicians when he should be promising that Malaysia’s politicians will no longer be corrupt”
The ‘fake news’ also suggest that Mahathir would be involved in appointing his own trusted men into Ministerial positions: “Do watch carefully as he will next place 12 of his trusted confidantes into the remaining 12 of 25 cabinet posts.”
Without offering any evidence, the ‘fake news’ then claimed that such action were “obviously a stab in Singapore’s back, and meant to drive a wedge in Singapore”.
Although Malaysia’s win has little to do with Singapore’s success, the article then moved on to praise the PAP government, first saying that Temasek has amassed great wealth without any natural resources while Malaysia is debt ridden even though it is a resource rich country.
The article also said that PM Lee Hsien Loong “is a very smart and meticulous politician. He is also decisive; and would pursue policies with long term benefits for the people even if this meant losing votes.”
“Singapore’s policies have always been prudent, yet effective; honest; brilliant; race-blind; and, are based on the principles of equality and trust. The Singapore Government has shown itself to be able to constantly improve itself. What PM Lee needs is the people’s support.”
Do you agree with the findings? Why do you think someone might want to cast Mahathir’s reputation in bad light?
Below is the WhatsApp that is being circulated for the past month
Author: Susana Cheung is a China and Hong Kong correspondent. She has commented on the Chinese Government and has done deep research in South East Asia politics. Susana had lived in Singapore for 6 years and is acclaimed as a superwoman of the third world.
Recently, there was a political tsunami in the Malaysian Peninsular. This will greatly affect Singapore. Mahathir has fought and won countless political battles in his life. In what may be his last political fight, what is this about; if it is not about money and power?
1. Mahathir has successfully transferred his once corrupt image to Najib. He is now seen as a noble and virtuous leader, wearing a $17 pair of bata shoes, and his wife buys clothes from the Departmental stores.
2. PM Mahathir has become a national hero by abolishing the GST while claiming that the national coffers has enough, even without the GST. He has even appointed a Chinese as the Finance Minister, winning the adoration of the Malaysia Chinese. Yet, stunningly, a few days later he said that Malaysia is saddled with a US$250 billion debt and asked Lim Guan Eng to implement the Sales and Service Tax!
3. Mahathir is shrewd and high handed. He arranged for reporters to ask him about his relationship and differences with Singapore’s founding PM Lee Kuan Yew during his first tenure as PM over 22 years. Mahathir only spoke about two issues – both portraying him as standing up for Malaysians. Now that Mr Lee Kuan Yew is no longer around to refute any allegations, the current PM Lee can only suffer in silence.
4. Most of Mahathir’s actions and words were deliberately planned to add fuel to the Singapore political scene, and give the Opposition a push. For instance, he had reduced the salaries of his cabinet. However, what good does it do to reduce the salaries of corrupt politicians when he should be promising that Malaysia’s politicians will no longer be corrupt? This is obviously a stab in Singapore’s back, and meant to drive a wedge in Singapore.
5. Knowing that there are vast differences within Malaysia in terms of the standard of education, and that there exists an unfair quota distribution for the Universities; Mahathir pretends to first want to be the Education Minister; before withdrawing, claiming that the electorate had said that he had promised not to hold dual portfolios during the campaign!
6. PM Mahathir has tactfully allocated 13 Ministerial portfolios to members from the 4 coalition. Do watch carefully as he will next place 12 of his trusted confidantes into the remaining 12 of 25 cabinet posts.
7. PM Mahathir has borne a grudge against Singapore ever since he studied in Singapore. His 2020 vision is to see Singapore fall behind Malaysia. Perhaps, his final wish is to see the PAP fall like BN.
8. The Social Media is full of stories about Mahathir and how he has transformed into a hero who saved Malaysia. In the remaining two years of both PM Lee’s and Mahathir’s terms, Mahathir is bound to be hypocritical on the bilateral front; even as his administration maintains a false front of continued relations.
9. PM Lee is a very smart and meticulous politician. He is also decisive; and would pursue policies with long term benefits for the people even if this meant losing votes. Today, what we see in most democracies is how Governments “goes with the flow” of the electorate. Perhaps, the only wise and decisive Government is that of Singapore’s.
10. The political scene in the 10 ASEAN Member States are different. Similarly, for Malaysia in Singapore; it is a case of apple and orange. Malaysia has vast oil resources; yet, a corrupt Government has saddled the nation with $379Bn in debts. Singapore has no natural resources; yet, it has a very successful Temasek Holdings which has a worth of $275Bn. In terms of the GST receipts, Singapore spends it on its people; while Malaysia uses GST receipts to service debts.
Low-income earners in Singapore receive Assistance. The Government also heavily subsidies automation, and invests in upgrading workers’ skills and productivity. It can also afford to spend on healthcare, eldercare, education, transport and developments!
Singapore’s policies have always been prudent, yet effective; honest; brilliant; race-blind; and, are based on the principles of equality and trust. The Singapore Government has shown itself to be able to constantly improve itself. What PM Lee needs is the people’s support. A good country is one where the people has trust in the Government, which in turn bids confidence for the people’s next generations. Many countries do not enjoy what Singapore has!
I believe two-thirds of Singaporeans are wise. In turn, they have reaped for themselves 50 years of good governance and would know clearly that some things, once lost; would never be the same.
Singaporeans, do not be fooled by Mahathir’s ploy to do Singapore and you in!