POFMA has created quite the headlines in the past month of December and late November, with 4 Correction Orders under POFMA issued to Brad Bowyer, States Times Review, SDP and Lim Tean. As can be noted, all four issued with Correction Orders are all deemed to be spouting fake news, and all are commentaries against the Government.
So, one can argue that POFMA is just another new shiny toy for the government, in their constant battle to silence the dissenting voices, whether the voices uses facts, or twist facts. The fact that the government thinks that they need to combat this by using heavy handed tactics such as using a new Law that gives them absolute power to silence, says a lot about how they are afraid of alternative voices that may or may not be telling the whole truth, usually in commentaries against the authorities.
But what about the Government themselves? Can they ever be issued with POFMA? After all, telling half truths and not the full facts is a common tactic used by governments the world over. So, to be better than the rest, why not the Singapore government come out with actual facts, with stats and reports to back up what they want to disprove, instead of just issuing Correction Orders?
Would, say Minister Josephine Teo be willing to indicate what percentage of the PMET jobs have gone to S’pore citizens versus Permanent Residents given that MOM classifies “resident workforce” as comprising both? Or would the good Minister answer what percentage of these jobs are full-time permanent versus contract positions which are getting increasingly common nowadays in the banking sector?
The solution to potentially inaccurate reporting and posts online lies not with POFMA but an honest and transparent framework that grants citizens access to such data to make their own informed judgment. Unfortunately, the Singapore government and their mechanism does not deem it fit that Singaporeans can make their own informed judgment without the government’s own intervention.