SINGAPORE – Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) has complied with the Correction Direction issued to him under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) on Tuesday, 25 July, as directed by the Ministry of Law.
The order was issued following a Facebook post made by LHY on Sunday, 23 July, which allegedly contained several inaccuracies.
The inaccuracies cited included the assertion that the State funded renovations to 26 and 31 Ridout Road because the properties were leased by Ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan; trees at the properties were felled on their accord; and SPH Media Trust inflated its circulation figures fraudulently.
Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth and Second Minister for Law, oversaw the issuance of the correction. As per the directive, LHY was required to post a notice to correct the purportedly misleading information.
After complying with the correction direction, LHY defended his previous statements in another Facebook post and saying that he stands by what he said, suggesting that his initial claims were not misleading and that the POFMA notice itself was deceptive.
According to the POFMA direction, the renovations to the aforementioned properties were critical and not linked to the tenant ministers. The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) reportedly funds significant restorations of conserved properties like these, a decision made by external consultants considering the condition of the properties and their conservation needs.
The alleged felling of trees at both addresses was also refuted, with the decision to fell trees taken by independent arborists for safety reasons, with necessary approval from the National Parks Board (NParks).
Moreover, LHY’s claim about the SPH Media Trust inflating circulation figures was denied. The alleged inflation reportedly occurred under SPH Limited’s management before SPH Media Trust was formed. The Trust reported and investigated the overstatement upon its discovery.
In his initial Facebook post, LHY accused the People’s Action Party (PAP) of losing public trust due to alleged misconduct and corruption, and his brother, PM Lee Hsien Loong, of squandering the trust they inherited from their late father, Lee Kuan Yew who is fondly recognised as the founder of modern Singapore and the architect of its success.
LHY listed several scandals, including the arrest of a cabinet minister on corruption charges, the inflation of circulation numbers by SPH Media Trust, and the resignation of the Speaker of Parliament due to an extramarital affair.
His post ended on a critical note, asserting that his brother’s regime no longer deserves the trust of Singaporeans.
Non-compliance with a POFMA directive constitutes an offence. For individuals, like LHY, potential penalties include a fine of up to S$20,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months. Other offenders, potentially organisations, could face a substantial fine of up to S$500,000.