POFMA correction direction issued to activist Gilbert Goh for Facebook post on woman who needed help
SINGAPORE: Activist Gilbert Goh has been issued a correction direction over a Facebook post which gave the impression that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and other agencies did not provide assistance to a woman who needed urgent help.
The direction was issued on Thursday (May 12) under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).
On Apr 24, Goh published on Facebook an appeal which he purportedly received from the woman, said MSF in a news release.
He had claimed that the woman, known to MSF as "Mdm A", had “no one (she) can turn to” for help and that she needed urgent financial assistance for herself and her partner, as well as adult diapers, transportation, and food.
"The false statement in Goh’s post gives the impression that MSF and other agencies are not aware of, or are not doing anything about, Mdm A’s situation," MSF said.
"This is not the case, and it is important to set the facts straight."
"Such false statements erode public trust and lead to misunderstanding about the support and assistance being extended to needy families by MSF and other agencies."
Goh has since published a correction notice on his Facebook post.
MSF said that the woman has been receiving ComCare assistance from MSF since June 2015 without any break in monthly assistance.
Her monthly payout was increased from this month onwards.
Her partner has been receiving ComCare assistance for various periods since June 2015, said MSF. His last assistance period was from October 2021 to March 2022. It was renewed from April to September 2022.
Besides MSF, Mdm A and her partner are also receiving financial and non-financial help from various other agencies and community partners, including the Agency for Integrated Care, MUIS (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore), Tan Tock Seng Hospital, THK Family Service Centre @ MacPherson and Home Nursing Foundation.
The assistance includes cash, rental assistance, assistance for service and conservancy charges, utility assistance and Public Healthcare Assistance.
"The financial assistance that Mdm A and her partner are currently receiving from MSF and other agencies amounts to more than S$2,000 each month," said MSF.
"Mdm A had not reached out to MSF for additional help before the Facebook post was published."
Two years ago, Goh was also issued a correction direction over a Facebook post which claimed that a single mother had supposedly been evicted from her flat after defaulting on rent.
Last December, he was charged with staging a protest without a permit and refusing to sign a police statement.