Opposition politician, Brad Bowyer, has complied with a Correction Order issued by the POFMA Office, under the instruction of the Minister for Finance (MOF).
The order was issued in relation to a Facebook post made by Bowyer on 13 Nov 2019. This is the first such instance that POFMA (the Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act) has been invoked since it was passed in parliament in May earlier this year.
In its statement, MOF asserted that Bowyer's post "clearly false statement of fact" in relation to the role and influence of the Government over GIC and Temasek.
Bowyer has responded to some of the points featured in the MOF statement.
In this latest post, Bowyer explained his position that there is some level of oversight by the Singapore Government over GIC and Temasek. He explained that if this was not the case, then it would be fair to question why there is no such overight considering that they "invest in public funds and have government members on their boards with the PM being the Chairman of GIC and his wife, as Head of Temasek".
I would like to highlight however that I don’t feel I am using false and misleading statements to smear Temasek or GIC just using publicly available data to question their decision making and more importantly the governments oversight of that. If they feel slighted or aggrieved, I apologise but feel it is fair to comment when such sums and negative results are in question without any clarification or response to the contrary.
On the point of Keppel I feel that the $0.5 Billion fine is in fact a loss. The company itself may not have made an overall loss but the unnecessary expense is money it did not have to lose if it had acted in a manner that didn’t incur such a fine but I guess this can be argued as a business expense, maybe?
I am glad Singtel is claimed to be doing well as evidenced by its current share price but is it not fair to ask could it be better if there was not the Bharti Airtel investment?
On the point on the $4 billion dollar investment in Andhra Pradesh I am sure many of us would welcome if some of it was not doing poorly and we look forward to hearing the details of the bits that will make up for those not doing so well although we are yet to see or hear of any.
On a final general note, I feel we should all do our best to comment factually and responsibly however when questions arise just asserting something is false or giving irrelevant information does not answer valid questions. With more transparency, clarification and accountability we can rest easier that our interests are in safe hands.
In a democracy like Singapore, no matter how limited it is, opposition politcians like Bowyer play an important role in ensuring government acccountability.
These opposition politicians also force the government to clarify their positions with regard to policies and actions.
POFMA may have been used against Bowyer.
But it has not been able to silence what he stands for. Singaporeans can only benefit from this.