A Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) has been issued to Alex Tan, editor of the Facebook page “State News Singapore (SNS)”, on Monday (29 June).
SNS stated in a Facebook post on 27 June that “despite Lee Hsien Loong personally calling Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin requesting Malaysia to open up daily commute, the Malaysian authorities refused to accede to his request,” in response to a press statement issued on the same day by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s telephone call with Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The Factually government site said that this is a “false statement of fact on the cross-border travel arrangements between Singapore and Malaysia.
“We wish to clarify that the telephone call between the two Prime Ministers was initiated at the request of Prime Minister Muhyiddin. As Prime Minister Muhyiddin has publicly stated, he proposed that the Singapore Government consider a daily cross-border commuting arrangement.”
The press statement continued that “the Singapore Government is committed to discussing the gradual and phased resumption of cross-border travel with Malaysia, subject to mutually agreed public health protocols, to preserve the public health and safety of citizens of both countries”.
“Singapore and Malaysia are working on the Periodic Commuting Arrangement and the Reciprocal Green Lane, and officials on both sides will continue discussions on other proposals to gradually facilitate more cross-border movement of people, while taking into account the medical resources available in both countries.”
Mr Tan, which the POFMA claims is an Australian citizen and currently resides there, has complied with the order and has taken the post down. He said in a Facebook post that “(he) will take a tactical retreat and comply with the POFMA order issued”.
“The PAP will have my cooperation, for now, up till Election Day July 10.”
Mr Tan alleged on his SNS’s page that it was created to replace the previous Facebook page, “States Times Review”, which was censored after it was banned and denied access to users.
This is not the first correction notice from the POFMA office to be issued to a Facebook page run by Mr Tan. On 27 May 2020, he was ordered to carry the notice on News Times Singapore for a post claiming “every criticism has been outlawed by the Singapore government through its new POFMA legislation, where the politicians in power get to decide what is truth”. This press statement also claimed Mr Tan has already been issued six POFMA directives prior.