It Is Clear POFMA Is Not Only Aimed at Silencing Critics But Also at Attacking Them Economically
Having been presented with the lovely new weapon of his Fake News law, the Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act, by his loyal servant Shanmugam, LHL seems determined to use it continuously now against his critics.
The latest target is Alex Tan and his Australian-based State Times Review that Singaporeans are barred from viewing because, despite decades of having supposedly the best education system in the world which also serves to indoctrinate Singaporeans that democracy, freedom and questioning your hereditary rulers leads to gridlock and communal violence, we are apparently unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Since the Government has a monopoly of TV, press and the overwhelming majority of internet news sites, it is not clear why they cannot get their views across effectively and need to shut down their opponents’ only platform. Particularly when their opponent is someone not overly burdened with grey matter like Alex Tan.
Part of the reason of course is the determination to ensure that no one can survive economically, let alone make money from, opposing the Lees’ hereditary dictatorship whilst sycophants, particularly foreign ones, who praise them will be richly rewarded. The fact that today anyone can publish using WordPress and social media, and that they can earn advertising money from page views, especially galls Lee Hsien Loong, just as it did his dad. When the Government shut down The Real Singapore and prosecuted its owners, who were foolish enough to return to Singapore, what stood out was the prosecution’s obvious anger that they were making a living in the top 1% of Singaporean incomes by criticising the Government. This was never supposed to happen. Instead critics were to be bankrupted by defamation laws and prevented from earning a living. However if their descendants kept their mouth shut and supported the Government, like my brother and Janil Puthucherry, they would be raised up and enriched.
Facebook have reluctantly complied with the Government’s direction to print a Correction Notice after being threatened with fines. Its shareholders should now question its decision to site its Asian headquarters in Singapore. The PAP have adroitly exploited the worldwide backlash against Facebook, in the EU no doubt partly inspired by nationalist pique that the Americans dominate the technology sector, and will no doubt find many, particularly on the left, who applaud the Singapore Government’s crusade against anything they designate as “fake news”, with no route of appeal except to a judiciary that has admitted it is just an arm of the executive, and are looking to impose similar laws in their own countries.
As in every totalitarian state and before that every absolute monarchy, the PAP expects religious institutions to support state ideology and control. At the time of the alleged Marxist plot, LKY famously threatened the Roman Catholic Archbishop that if the latter did not control his priests, he (LKY) would. The Christian Church in Singapore is no exception. My mother and father were both devout members of the Anglican Church in Singapore and I recall they used to contribute a significant percentage of their income. My mother was the Registrar of the Diocese of Singapore and Malaysia in the 1960s and a founder member of Samaritans of Singapore. This did not stop the Anglican Church, under the direction of Bishop Moses Tay, treating my father extremely shabbily. He was forced to step down as one of the servers after his fake conviction, de facto set aside by the Privy Council in 1988, and had to suffer Canon Louis Tay coming to see him after he was released from prison to urge him to repent. (Later I allowed Canon Tay to preside over my dad’s funeral at the Cathedral, ignorant of his past history with my father, where he gave an extremely odd sermon). Obnoxious as Amos Yee, I am sure if my father had been alive he would have found much to agree with in Amos’s caricature of Christians in Singapore.
So when Shanmugam got his press secretary to issue an equivocating correction to the NUS Students United Facebook page, which has now been taken down, what he really meant was just a regurgitation of LKY’s words from 1987 when LKY warned religious leaders to stay out of political and economic issues, in other words not to criticise the PAP. The Government welcomes religious leaders, like Moses Tay, who sing from the same hymn sheet. As long as the Church goes above and beyond its duty to render unto Caesar all things that belong to Caesar to sycophantic support of the Government, then candidates like Rachel Ong will be welcomed.
As a final public service announcement to correct the Government’s falsehoods I would like to point out that the Elections Department is merely a division within the Prime Minister’s Office. It is one of the necessary conditions for there to be free and fair elections that the Elections Commission be independent from the Government and not packed with its cronies. Not only is there not an independent Elections Commission in Singapore, but the electoral machinery including the Boundaries Review Committee is directly under the control of LHL. Other necessary conditions for free and fair elections are the existence of independent media, the non harassment of Opposition candidates and the inability of the Government to use state resources, like its control over housing, jobs and savings, to bribe and intimidate the electorate. All these conditions are violated in Singapore.