The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office on Wed (18 Mar) issued correction directions (CDs) to People’s Voice Party chief Lim Tean and two other individuals regarding their Facebook posts on the SAFRA Jurong dinner event last month.
In a statement today, the POFMA Office said that it was instructed by the Minister in charge of the People’s Association (PA), Chan Chun Sing, to issue CDs to Mr Lim, as well as Facebook users ‘Henryace Ace’ and Sebastian Ying, for posting and sharing claims regarding the People’s Association (PA) and/or the Residents’ Committees (RCs)’s alleged role in organising the dinner event on 15 Feb.
“False statements were made in several Facebook posts claiming that on 15 February 2020 which a COVID-19 cluster was later traced to,” the statement read.
The Government clarified the matter in a statement published on its fact-checking website Factually, stating that such a claim is “entirely false”.
“PA and the RCs were not involved in the organisation of the dinner event at SAFRA Jurong on 15 February 2020, and were not in a position to cancel it.
“PA and the RCs also did not fund nor publicise the dinner event. The event was a private dinner function organised by a singing instructor for members of her singing groups,” according to the statement on Factually.
The correction order issued today marks the third one issued to Mr Lim by the POFMA Office.
Last Dec, Mr Lim was issued a correction direction on a post in which, according to the Government, he had implied that it was spending more on foreign students than on Singaporean students.
According to Factually on 16 Dec last year, contrary to Mr Lim’s assertion that “the total pot available to Singaporean students [is] $167 million compared to the $238 million that is spent on foreign students”, the Ministry of Education (MOE) spends “almost all” of its S$13 billion annual budget on Singaporean students.
“The $167M cited by Mr Lim refers only to bursaries for Singaporean tertiary students, and grossly understates MOE’s total spending on Singaporean citizens for education,” Factually wrote, adding that the S$238 million figure cited by Mr Lim for foreign students is “not comparable” to the S$167 million he had cited for Singaporean students.
“These statements imply that MOE spends less on Singaporean students than on foreign students,” according to the website.
“The more appropriate comparison should be nearly $13B spent on Singaporean students to provide subsidised education for all Singaporean students at all levels, as against the $238M attributed to foreign students referred to by Mr Lim Tean, which is less than 2% of the total education budget.
“Further, it should be noted that much of MOE’s budget goes towards costs such as infrastructure, facilities, laboratories, faculty and teaching force, etc., which are either fixed or non-variable up to the medium term, to provide education for Singaporean students.
Mr Lim received his second POFMA-related order in Jan this year for sharing an article by AB-TC City News alleging that five Singaporeans had contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) without going to China.
“While both parties have taken down their Facebook posts containing the falsehood, they are still required to carry a correction notice on their respective Facebook pages.
“This will ensure that persons who had viewed their posts are informed of the facts,” according to the POFMA Office in a statement on 31 Jan.