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Singapore

Gilbert Goh, The Independent Singapore issued correction directions over posts on 'evicted' mother

SINGAPORE: National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has instructed that correction directions be issued to local activist Gilbert Goh and socio-political website The Independent Singapore (TISG) over their online posts on the plight of a single mother.

The Facebook posts published by both parties as well as an article on the TISG website said that a single mother had supposedly been evicted from her flat after defaulting on rent.

The correction directions issued under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) require Mr Goh and TISG to carry a correction notice alongside their posts.

TISG published the correction notice on the social media post and the article on Wednesday night, shortly after the press release on the directions was issued.

Mr Goh published his correction notice on the Facebook post in question at midday on Thursday.

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Mr Goh had said on Facebook on Feb 19 that the single mother named "Lina" and her six children had been evicted from their rental flat after defaulting on their rent, and that they have been staying at her sister's house.

Two days later, TISG published an article and a Facebook post with the same claims. 

According to an article on the Gov.sg website, those claims are "entirely false".

"The false statements reported by Goh and TISG give the impression that HDB has deprived a needy family of public rental housing because of their inability to pay for it. This is not the case and it is important to set the facts straight," authorities said.

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GOVERNMENT REFUTES CLAIMS

The Ministry of National Development (MND) refuted claims that "Lina" and her children were evicted from their flat, saying that the family did not have any overdue rent throughout their last tenancy. 

"Lina" was not a single mother as claimed, but was living in the Housing Board rental flat with her husband and children, MND said.

The husband had terminated the tenancy for the rental flat and returned the keys to HDB in early February.

The couple have bought a new flat from HDB, which has been paid for in full, the article said. 

"‘Lina’ and her family have since moved into their new HDB flat."

READ: Health Minister orders POFMA correction directions to States Times Review, Facebook over COVID-19 post

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According to authorities, HDB staff visited "Lina" and her husband in their new flat on Feb 22, and the couple explained that it was a relative who had approached Mr Goh for assistance. 

The family had been receiving assistance in the form of cash, vouchers, subsidies and food rations from various government agencies and community partners: the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education, the Early Childhood Development Agency, HDB and the Sembawang Family Service Centre. 

The family also received food rations and supermarket vouchers from their local grassroots organisation, said MND.

Source: CNA/nh(hm)

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