Manpower Minister orders correction directions to Facebook post about quarantined foreign workers' pay: POFMA Office

Manpower Minister orders correction directions to Facebook post about quarantined foreign workers' pay: POFMA Office

Westlite Dormitory (1)
External view of Weslite Toh Guan dormitory. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Monday (Apr 6) ordered correction directions to be made to Mr Alex Tan and the Singapore States Times Facebook page for falsely claiming that quarantined foreign workers would not be paid their salaries.

A post by Mr Tan containing the falsehood was published on the Singapore States Times Facebook page on Sunday at 8.43pm, said the POFMA Office, which enforces the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.

Mr Tan and the Singapore States Times Facebook page would be required to publish a correction notice on their post, while Facebook has also been issued a targeted correction direction, requiring the Internet intermediary to put up a correction notice on the offending post, said the office.

The post was made after authorities announced that two foreign worker dormitories which have seen a “significant” climb in new COVID-19 infections had been gazetted as isolation areas.

This means all 19,800 foreign workers housed at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol and Westlite Toh Guan dormitory would be quarantined in their rooms for 14 days.

Both dorms account for a total of 90 COVID-19 cases so far, with the larger cluster at the S11 Dormitory.

READ: Singapore sees record daily spike of 120 COVID-19 cases, 'significant number' linked to workers' dormitories

Mr Tan's post claimed that they were "not getting a single cent from 14 days of quarantine”, referring to the foreign workers in the two dorms. 

A clarification on the Government's Factually website repeated Manpower Minister Josephine Teo's assurances on Sunday that the workers will continue to be paid their salaries for the duration of their quarantine.

"Their period of absence from work is treated as paid hospitalisation leave, as part of the worker’s leave eligibility," said the website.

"The facts above were published before the post on Singapore States Times, and could have easily been verified."

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No correction notice has been attached to the post as of 9.45pm on Monday, according to a check by CNA.

The Singapore States Times Facebook page is run by Mr Tan, who lives in Australia.

He was also behind the States Times Review Facebook page, which was blocked for Singapore users in February "after repeatedly posting falsehoods, and refusing to post corrections or comply with the law in any way", said the Factually website.

Source: CNA/jt(rw)

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