Controversial blog States Times Review (STR) is apparently shutting down its Facebook page in the next fortnight, following a sharp response from the Singapore government over what it termed a “libellous” STR article titled “Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB’s key investigation target”.
In a Facebook post on Friday evening (9 November), STR founder and editor Alex Tan, who has been based in Sydney since 2015, added that the website will remain until the next General Election is over.
Tan said that the website had been “blocked under false charges of ‘fake news’ and ‘criminal defamation’ laid by the Singapore dictatorship”.
“As such, the website will cease and desist considering that it lost a channel to reach Singaporeans.”
Tan added that he had “decided to stop writing and continue my life in Australia”.
“Do take note that this shut down notice is of my own volition, and not pressure from anyone or the dictatorship. I have no intention to impugn my integrity bending forward for a scum government.”
Earlier on Friday, Tan had refused to take down the 1MDB article, stating that he welcomed a lawsuit by Singapore’s Prime Minister.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore had also filed a police report over the article, while the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) had directed STR to take down the “objectionable” article by 5pm on Friday, failing which it would instruct Internet Service Providers to restrict access to the site.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam also weighed in on the same day, telling reporters that the allegations in the article were “absurd” and that police would take action against all involved.
Tan, a systems engineer, contested in Ang Mo Kio GRC – the Prime Minister’s ward – during the 2011 General Election.