Singapore—The POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act) office issued a media release on Wednesday, April 1, saying that the Minister of Finance had instructed it to use a correction direction to a Facebook user going by the name “超静” (“tifinnytara”) because on March 29, this user had put up a post which contained “false statements concerning Singapore’s Resilience Budget (Supplementary Budget 2020).”
This Facebook user is now required to post the full correction notice on top of their Facebook post.
The media release from the POFMA office contains a link to an article on the government website Factually, which clarifies the matter.
“Tifinnytara” had written at around 8:01 on Sunday (Mar 29), “Don’t be too happy that you have $48b. The bulk of almost 1/3 goes to SIA, 55% TEMASEK OWNED (how did our national carrier became temasek own at 55%???). Cash n immediate release to SIA!”
Factually explains that this is a falsehood since the initiative carried out by SIA to raise S$15 billion as capital is neither part of the Resilience Budget nor funded by the Government of Singapore.
The Facebook user had also written that “…president halimah open reserves of $17b is mainly for Temasek” (sic), claiming that S$17 billion from the country’s Past Reserves would be utilized for Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited, which is also not true.
The amount that the Government is proposing to draw from Past Reserves will go toward the following:
- Enhancement of Jobs Support Scheme (S$13.8b)
- Enhancement of financing schemes (S$1.7b)
- Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (S$1.2b)
- Aviation Support Package (S$0.4b)
In a Facebook post on April 1, the Ministry of Finance said, “The Government had set aside a total of S$48.4 billion in the Resilience Budget to (i) save jobs, support workers, and protect livelihoods, (ii) help enterprises overcome immediate challenges, and (iii) strengthen economic and social resilience so that we can emerge intact and stronger.”
Additional details about the Resilience Budget can be found here: www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/resiliencebudget.
Last month, the POFMA Office released a statement issuing correction directions to three individuals for posting and sharing false statements on Facebook about the dinner event at Safra Jurong, one of the clusters identified in the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore.
Three persons—namely opposition member Lim Tean and other social media users Henryace Ace and Sebastian Ying—had shared several false statements on Facebook alleging that the People’s Association (PA), Residents’ Committees (RCs), or both, were involved in organising the Safra Jurong dinner on Feb 15. The dinner at Joy Garden Restaurant in Safra Jurong has become the largest cluster of local coronavirus spread, with 47 confirmed cases linked to it as of Tuesday (Mar 18).
The POFMA Office said that Minister-in-charge of the People’s Association (PA), Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, instructed them to issue the correction directions to the three persons found to be spreading false news.
The Government also issued a clarification via Factually, which said, “Between 8 March 2020 and 17 March 2020, there were posts by several Facebook users claiming that the People’s Association (PA) and/or the Residents’ Committees (RCs) were involved in the organisation of the dinner event at SAFRA Jurong on 15 February 2020 which a COVID-19 cluster was later traced to.
This 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 group.
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