GE2020: Workers' Party is not 'pulling its punches' in spite of POFMA, says Pritam Singh

Nicholas Yong
·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read
Worker's Party chief Pritam Singh addresses reporters at a doorstop outside Rivervale Plaza on Tuesday, 7 July 2020. PHOTO: Nick Tan/Yahoo News Singapore
Worker's Party chief Pritam Singh addresses reporters at a doorstop outside Rivervale Plaza on Tuesday, 7 July 2020. PHOTO: Nick Tan/Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — The Workers’ Party (WP) has not pulled its punches in the 2020 General Election (GE) in spite of the spectre of Singapore’s controversial anti-fake news law, said WP chief Pritam Singh on Tuesday (7 July).

“And the reason why we've not pulled our punches is, we believe that the national discourse should be conducted on the basis of objective facts. There's a lot of room for opinion. People can share their opinion as well. But if you go into a campaign, clearly saying something which is not correct, factually wrong, then inevitably, the law as (it) is allows for the POFMA office to take certain course of action.”

Singh added that the use of the Protection Against Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Act (POFMA) has not affected the WP’s campaign. “Because I have repeatedly stressed to our candidates: we're not in this to win through false information or through some fear mongering and that sort of thing. That's not the way I want to win an election. I think we want to win an election fair and square, and that’s why we address the issues head on.”

The head of Singapore’s leading opposition party was responding to a query about his views on the five POFMA orders that have been issued during the GE2020 campaign. The latest POFMA correction orders were issued against several entities on Sunday, including CNA Online, for publishing recent comments by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Paul Tambyah that was deemed to contain falsehoods.

Speaking in an NUSS forum, Dr Tambyah had said that the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) email advisory to employers on COVID-19 testing for migrant workers was made without advice from public health medical professionals.

In the same event, Dr Tambyah also suggested that the pandemic was exacerbated in March because the multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19 switched its focus from public health to the election. MTF co-chair and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has labeled his comments “baseless and false”.

Asked if he agreed with Tambyah’s comments, Singh declined to comment, adding, “I don't want to wade myself into it because sometimes, the media asks me a question and I reply to it, the PAP says Mr. Singh is jumping into the situation like an opportunist.”

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