July 15, 2024


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Finance Minister orders correction direction for Facebook user over supplementary Budget post

SINGAPORE: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has instructed that a correction direction be issued to a Facebook user for a post about Singapore’s Resilience Budget,  said the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office on Wednesday (Apr 1).

The post by Facebook user “超静” (“tifinnytara”) contains “false statements concerning Singapore’s Resilience Budget (Supplementary Budget 2020)”, said the POFMA Office. 

The correction direction requires her to carry a correction notice at the top of the Facebook post.

The post in question referred to the S$48 billion package of measures unveiled by Mr Heng last week, in response to the  COVID-19 pandemic. 

READ: COVID-19 Resilience Budget: ‘Landmark’ S$48 billion package to tide Singapore through ‘unprecedented’ crisis

It called into question the source of funding for Singapore Airlines’ capital raising exercise announced last week, claiming that almost a third of the S$48 billion package would go to Singapore Airlines.

“This is false,” said the authorities in a Factually article on gov.sg. 

“SIA’s S$15 billion capital raising exercise, announced on Mar 26, 2020, is distinct and separate from the Resilience Budget, and is not funded by the Government.”

READ: Singapore Airlines taps investors for up to US$10.5b amid coronavirus shock

The Facebook user also claimed that the use of S$17 billion from past reserves – which President Halimah Yacob gave her in-principle approval for last week – would be used mainly for Temasek Holdings.

This is also false, said the Factually article.

“To support the Resilience Budget, the Government is proposing to draw up to S$17 billion from our past reserves for broad-based economy-wide and sector-wide schemes,” it said.

The schemes drawing on past reserves include the enhancement of jobs support scheme, enhancement of financing schemes, self-employed person income relief scheme and aviation support package.

“None of the above schemes are ring-fenced to be for Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (“Temasek”) or Temasek-linked companies,” said Factually.

In addition it said that S$20 billion had been set aside in the form of loan capital, to support “good companies with strong capabilities” and to catalyse private sector loan capital. 

None of this S$20 billion will be used by the Government to subscribe to SIA’s fundraising exercise, it said.

The Facebook user has not added a correction notice to her post as of 10am Wednesday.

Several correction directions have been issued by the authorities over claims to do with the coronavirus situation in Singapore since outbreak began.

These include a direction issued over an article by AB-TC City News which claimed at the time that five Singaporeans had contracted the disease without travelling to China, as well as another issued to alternative news site States Times Review over its claim that Singapore had run out of face masks.

In February, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong instructed that a correction direction be issued to Mr Alex Tan, the owner of the States Times Review Facebook page.

He also ordered that a targeted correction direction be issued to Facebook, which hosted the Feb 13 post by States Times Review said to contain “multiple false statements” about the COVID-19 situation. 

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