Veteran opposition politician and chief of the People’s Power Party Goh Meng Seng opined that the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) has been abused by the ruling party.
In a lengthy social media post, Mr Goh wrote that before passing POFMA, the People’s Action Party gave “all the good sounding reasons that they are not curbing freedom of expression but just wanted to prevent ‘fake news’ and ‘falsehood’ from spreading which could affect our country’s ‘stability’.” However, he added: “They have invoked the FEAR of instability once again.”
Citing examples such as the “illegal assembly law, from 5 persons to 1 person and now, even more absurd, as long as it involves any opposition politicians”, Mr Goh added that “all activities including cycling at East Coast Park or doing charity work, all can be viewed as potentially ‘causing public unrest’ and need to apply for police licence!”
He said POFMA is being used as a tool for “tightening noose on opposition by PAP”.
“Besides, from the few POFMA PAP MINISTERS had issued, I think it is not hard for anyone with a little intellect to conclude that these ministers don’t really understand the difference between outright falsehoods vs difference in perspectives or simply an opinion,” he said.
Referring to two recent instances where POFMA was exercised, Mr Goh argued that for the Singapore Democratic Party, all of the examples it cited that were deemed as fake were “based on public reports on the employment issue. It is just a matter of perspective on where the point of reference is made. You can make reference to 2015 but SDP is talking about RECENT TREND from 2018 to 2019”.
With regard to POFMA being used on two of opposition politician Lim Tean’s Facebook posts, he said: “The MOE says the two amounts cited by Tean are ‘incomparable’ but that’s its opinion and perspective! Ironically, most people would see the comparison is actually fair while MOE attempts to make its whole budget of $13 billion as ‘subsidies spending’ as comparison to the amount spent on foreign students’ grants and scholarships, is a total mockery of our citizenship.”
Calling previous instances of POFMA being used “just a matter of different perspectives”, Mr Goh said: “I would say PAP ministers are wrong!”
Concluding his post, he wrote: “Only via the ballot box, can Singaporeans send their strong signals to PAP.” /TISG