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Kenneth Jeyaretnam calls out ‘shadowy’ fact-checking company as pro-government hardliners

Secretary General of the Reform Party, Kenneth Jeyaretnam pointed out that the top management of fact-checking company Black Dot is made up of PAP hardcores.

Following the blog post by former TNP editor Bertha Henson on her blog Bertha Harian about the events that unfolded around the time of the 1997 General elections when The New Paper ran a story on their front page about police reports filed against PAP ministers by Worker’s Party politicians Tan Liang Hong and JB Jeyaretnam.

The story alleged collusion and political manipulation which resulted in both Mr Tang and Mr Jeyaretnam facing down massive legal suits which ended up with the former fleeing abroad and the latter being declared bankrupt.

Kenneth Jeyaretnam pointed out in an article on his website that after Ms Henson published her story, Black Dot was brought in to ‘shut down’ her confession and Mr Jeyaretnam’s statement in response as they are likely to cause a ‘siesmic shift in public perception’. Mr Jeyaretnam was referring to the organisations mission statement which says they “verify claims made from any source that could potentially cause a seismic shift in public perception on topics of general importance in Singapore.”

Black Dot – which Mr Jeyaretnam describes as ‘shadowy’ – and their involvement in this particular story shows that PAP is ‘running scared’ says Mr Jeyaretnam. While Black Dot claims to be “entirely self-funded and unconnected to any third-party organisation, political, government or otherwise”, Mr Jeyaretnam notes that they appear to actually function as “the government’s damage control unit”.

He said, “Black Dot group are far from ‘independent’”.

Not as independent as they claim to be

He makes the connection between the media organisation and political party by highlighting the connections that Black Dot’s leadership team has to the government

He pointed out that the Managing Director of the company, Nicholas Fang, was formerly attached to Sate Times and Channel NewsAsia, both under Mediacorp which is owned by the Temasek which is in turn owned by the government. He was there for 15 years before becoming an Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP).

Next, the Executive Director of Black Dot is Jeffrey Fang, a former Director of Strategic and Public Affairs at Temasek. The Senior Researcher is Kevin Tan who was an SAF officer for 17 years while the lead fact checker, Derek Low, was a captain in the SAF before working as a litigator for the PAP’s ‘preferred defamation lawyers’ Drew & Napier.

Mr Jeyaretnam says, “Yet again we are shown proof positive that the PM has absolute power and that every institution in Singapore, from the police force to the media, is at his command to crush all opposition to his rule and to further his and his family’s financial interests.”

He adds that he isn’t worried about the involvement of the government via Black Dot, noting that Bertha’s story exposes the PAP’s ‘horrifically corrupt government’.

Highlighting that it would be ‘interesting’ to see who Black Dot’s top 5 clients, Mr Jeyaretnam says, “in the absence of even partial disclosure a background in state media and working for Temasek and the military is about as close as one can get in Singapore to a direct PAP connection”.

He adds, “As they manage damage to the government their clients must be the government”

Mr Jeyaretnam goes on to say that this entire saga reveals just how far the government will go “to bring down anyone who threatens the family power of the Lees”, and in this case it was his father, JB Jeyaretnam. He emphasised that this is further proof that the PM has ‘absolute power’ over institutions in Singapore, from the police force to the media – all of whom are at ready to ‘crush all opposition to his rule’ and further the financial interest of his family.

Going further, Mr Jeyaretnam compares Singapore to that of a third world totalitarian state, stressing that this kind of evidence of collusion between the PM, police, and media would not go unpunished in any other country.

Does the public even notice?

Turning his attention to the public now, Mr Jeyaretnam questions if the community even realises what is happening. He notes, “No one has ever sued the Police force before. But we’re not going to get an enquiry or independent investigation,” asking is there’s a lawyer brave enough to take on the administration.

Mr Jeyaretnam then talked about the additions Ms Henson made on her post several days after posting which included an excerpt of the Court of Appeal judgement in the case against JB Jeyaretnam. Mr Jeyaretnam says, “I suppose she wanted to pose as one of Singapore’s soft liberals and a martyr. She failed.”

He added that Ms Henson hasn’t informed him before publishing her post and that he was astonished to recall that she had attended his father’s wake.