The alternate authority for the Minister for Manpower (MOM) instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) office to issue five correctional directions to the National University Of Singapore Society (NUSS), CNA, The Online Citizen Asia (TOC) and New Naratif.
The Pofma office said on July 5 that the correctional directions were issued because these platforms carried false statements made by Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) chairman Paul Tambyah.
The statements appeared in NUSS’ YouTube video, CNA’s online article, TOC’s Facebook post and videos, and New Naratif’s audio recording.
While sharing his views at the NUSS Pre-General Election Forum 2020 on July 3, Dr Tambyah said that the MOM’s email advisory to employers on the testing of migrant workers was made without the advice of public health medical professionals.
He also claimed that MOM‘s advisory stated that employers would lose their work pass privileges if they sent their workers for Covid-19 testing and that MOM actively discouraged the testing of workers.
However, in a joint statement between MOM and the Ministry of Health (MOH), they refuted his statements and said that it was false.
“The medical management of migrant workers was guided by the Ministry of Health and its medical professionals, based on the prevailing scientific evidence and local situation,” it read.
On Feb 12, MOH, MOM and other agencies also jointly issued an advisory to the industry to advise that there was no need to prevent workers who were residing in the dormitory from working if they were not unwell, according to the statement.
MOM clarified that in the advisories to employers, it did not say that employers could not bring their workers for testing. Neither did it actively discourage the testing of workers.
What MOM said was: “Do not send workers to hospitals unless it is a medical emergency. If the worker is unwell, employers should send him to a general practitioner to seek medical attention, who will make a proper assessment on whether the worker needs to be sent to the hospital.”
The full details of the statement can be found here.
The correctional directions will require NUSS, CNA, TOC and New Naratif to each carry a correction notice stating that the above-mentioned online content contain false statements of facts.
SDP’s Dr Tambyah will be contesting Bukit Panjang SMC against the People’s Action Party’s Liang Eng Hwa.