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Lee Hsien Yang issued correction order for falsehoods on Ridout Road, SPH media sagas

POFMA directive requires him to address inaccuracies on state-funded renovations, tree felling, SPH Media circulation

Lee Hsien Yang served with correction direction under POFMA for False Statements on Facebook post.
Lee Hsien Yang served with correction direction under POFMA for false statements on Facebook post. (PHOTO: Nicholas Yong / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has been served with a correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) after he published a post on his Facebook page containing false statements of fact.

The correction direction, issued by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong on Tuesday (25 July), requires Lee to carry a correction notice to clarify the inaccuracies in his post.

According to the Law Ministry, he made several untrue statements, which have been fact-checked and found to be misleading and lacking in veracity.

False claims about state-funded renovations

His post on Sunday (23 July) claimed that the state paid for renovations to 26 and 31 Ridout Road, because ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan leased the properties.

However, it has been clarified that the identity of the tenants had no influence on the decision to carry out the works on the properties.

The Law Ministry said that the Singapore Land Authority invests in maintaining conserved properties, including 26 and 31 Ridout Road, as part of their conservation efforts.

The works were "assessed to be necessary" and in compliance with conservation requirements, as stated by Tong in Parliament on 3 July.

26 and 31 Ridout Road
26 and 31 Ridout Road (PHOTO: Google Maps)

Misleading statements about tree felling

Another false claim made by Lee suggested that the trees at both properties were allowed to be felled due to the properties being leased by Shanmugam and Balakrishnan.

However, the decision to fell trees "with a girth size of more than one metre" was made following inspections by independent arborists, who identified safety concerns.

Approval for tree felling, where required, was obtained from the National Parks Board. The statement said the tenants' identities were not a factor in these decisions.

Inaccurate allegations against SPH Media

Lee further alleged that SPH Media fraudulently inflated its circulation numbers.

However, the overstatement of circulation numbers occurred when the media business was under SPH Limited, a listed company before SPH Media Trust was incorporated.

Upon taking over SPH Limited's media business, SPH Media Trust discovered, reported, and investigated the circulation issue. According to the ministry, the government's funding agreement for public service media capabilities was signed with SPH Media Trust, and not based on circulation numbers.

As per the correction direction, Lee must publish a correction notice on his Facebook post. This notice will include a link to a Factually article, presenting the facts and clarifications provided by the relevant authorities.

A check by Yahoo Southeast Asia shows that Lee has carried the notice.

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