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Businessman, touted as a potential polls candidate, criticises Cherian George’s views on Pofma

But Yap turns down invitation for a discussion either on Skype or by email

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Singapore — An author and businessman, touted as a potential People’s Action Party (PAP) election candidate, has written a Facebook post criticising many of the views regularly expressed on the Pofma fake news law by media studies professor and author Cherian George.

Prof George has responded to the post by Dr Yap Kwong Weng to point out that he has been misquoted and that his views on the fake news law have been taken out of context.

Dr George has invited Dr Yap to a discussion, not on Facebook, but on either Skype of by email. The discussion can be published later. This is partly because a discussion on Facebook would be difficult with the presence of online trolls. Dr Yap’s post has also been highlighted by The Online Citizen.

In his Facebook post on his own account on Sunday (May 17), Dr Yap had labelled Prof George’s position on Pofma as “interesting but contradictory and contrived”.

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Dr Yap, the Principal Advisor of KPMG Singapore, had added that Prof George “claims that some Singaporeans (including CG) have allowed themselves to be used by foreign interests. If he is asking for Pofma to be used, then he seems to have lost all sense of balance and proportion. CG must know that Pofma cannot conceivably be used, to make him feel happier”.

Referring to Prof George as a “staunch free speech advocate”, he added: “Free speech is fine, except when they disagree with it, or when it hurts them.”

[The Rule of Law in an Uncertain World] I am writing in personal capacity. The world is turned upside down by the…

Posted by Yap Kwong Weng on Sunday, May 17, 2020

Prof George wrote in response to Dr Yap’s post: “Dr Yap, you appear to have a sincere desire to understand the issues, so it is unfortunate that you have mostly recycled talking points that were used a year ago to try to distract and discredit critics of Pofma. I’d be happy to discuss this by email or Skype, which would be more conducive to mutual understanding than this forum.”

He said: “I did not ask for Pofma to be used to protect me, but this just one of the many misreadings of what I’ve written. I look forward to discussing this with you in greater depth.”

Dr Yap, however, declined the invitation. He said: “Dr George, your posts certainly suggested that you wanted Pofma to be used in your favour which caught my attention hence the analysis. Alternatively you highlighted that government should come in to censure your critics. Since you didn’t deny/agree to that in your earlier posts on my wall, it’s best to leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions for now.” /TISG

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