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POFMA Office instructed to issue correction directions to Sin Rak Sin Party Facebook page, three users

POFMA Office instructed to issue correction directions to Sin Rak Sin Party Facebook page, three users

A screengrab of Sin Rak Sin Party's Facebook page.

SINGAPORE: The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office has been instructed to issue correction directions to a Facebook page and three Facebook users for posting screenshots or links to an article that contained "a false statement".

The correction directions were issued to the Sin Rak Sin Party Party Facebook page, as well as Facebook users Ryann Smith, Jafri Basron and Denise Fletcher.

The POFMA Office said on Friday (Jul 3) that the page and users had posted screenshots of, or linked to, an article that contained a false statement that the Urban Redevelopment Authority has released a “plan to build underground infrastructure ready for 10 million population”.

READ: GE2020: DPM Heng denies saying Singapore should plan to increase population to 10m

The Government has clarified Singapore’s population plans on multiple occasions, including in Parliament in March 2018, when it projected Singapore’s total population is likely to be significantly below 6.9 million by 2030, the POFMA office said.

It had also published two articles - in March and July - and issued a media statement by the National Population and Talent Division, clarifying its position on population plans.

"The media statement also stated that the publication of such falsehoods damages the public interest by undermining legitimate and honest discussion, and that appropriate action may be taken against any further publication of such falsehoods," the POFMA Office said. 

"Despite the latest clarification, the falsehood continues to be repeated."

The POFMA office was instructed by the alternate authority for the minister charged with the responsibility for the portfolio of the Prime Minister insofar as it relates to the National Population and Talent Division.

As of Friday night, the Sin Rak Sin Party Party Facebook page and user Denise Fletcher had put up correction notices on their respective posts, while the remaining two users Ryann Smith, Jafri Basron​​​​​​​ had not. 

READ: GE2020: Falsehood on 10m population renders SDP campaign pointless, says PAP

The article on the Factually is as follows:

Falsehoods

Several Facebook users – “Denise Fletcher”, “Jafri Basron”, and “Ryann Smith” – as well as a Facebook page Sin Rak Sin Party have recently posted screenshots of, or links to, an article first published by The Online Citizen (TOC) on Apr 4, 2019, which contained a false statement that the URA has released a “plan to build underground infrastructure ready for 10 million population”.

This is false for the following reasons:

  • The Government has not proposed, planned nor targeted for Singapore to increase its population to 10 million;
  • The Government does not have any population target; and
  • URA’s underground plans are not meant to serve any population target.

The Government has clarified Singapore’s population plans on multiple occasions: 

(i) in Parliament in March 2018, when it projected Singapore’s total population is likely to be significantly below 6.9 million by 2030 

(ii) in two Factually articles (“What is the aim of Government population policies?” in March 2020, and “Does the Government have a population target e.g. 10 million?” in July 2020), and 

(iii) in a media statement issued by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) on 1 July 2020. The media statement also stated that the publication of such falsehoods damages the public interest by undermining legitimate and honest discussion, and that appropriate action may be taken against any further publication of such falsehoods. Despite the latest clarification, the falsehood continues to be repeated.

Additional Clarifications

The underground plans aim to make more effective use of Singapore’s subterranean spaces. Moving infrastructure, utilities and storage facilities underground would free up surface land for more green and public spaces, as well as for people-centric uses that would improve the living environment for all Singaporeans. 

Source: CNA/ad(mi)

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