K Shanmugam, Lee Hsien Loong, Chan Chun Sing, Gan Kim Yong; PAP

What happens in the likely event that a news content has been wrongly labelled as fake news because it disagrees with “government facts”?

Minister K Shanmugam tells you to challenge the decision in the Singapore court. Hahaha. A late April’s fool joke this is. The Prime Minister’s own nephew can attest to this.

The “recourse” recommended by the lawless minister is a ridicule. When I heard his recommendation, a Hokkien phrase came to my mind: siao lang kong siao wei, jiao lang kong jiao wei – literally meaning a lunatic spouts mad words while an ill-natured person spouts nonsense. The bottom line is that nobody ever wins the Singapore government in the Singapore court.

The lack of a reasonable recourse is just another form of oppression of the commoner Singaporean citizen, who has no resources to fight a legal dispute all the way to the Court of Appeal with the government. Not everyone is a Harvard professor whose grandfather is Lee Kuan Yew after all isn’t it?

For K Shanmugam to “recommend” such a “recourse”, he must be cocksure he will win.

The Law Minister even had the audacity to deny his dictatorship ambitions, by claiming that he is the not the “final” arbiter of truth. Final or not, you made yourself an arbiter of truth anyway haven’t you Shameugan? You may be able to twist your words but you cannot twist the message you are sending.

Censorship restrict your viewpoints, and you became blindsided by content wrongfully deemed as “facts”. Take for example the recent debate over HDB ownership, is the government going to shut people up by prosecuting anyone who calls HDB leasehold a lease? Any debate can be conveniently settled by bulldozing your “facts” over disagreements.

Disagreement aside, what about the fake news and half-truth propaganda generated by the government media like Straits Times and even the PAP ministers themselves? Who is there to take them to task for spouting nonsense? Or more importantly, who is there to take the “arbiters of truths” to task for spouting fake news?

The essence of fake news is not about its content but rather its intended message. The Transport Minister can claim that rail reliability increased ten-fold based on his own measurement ruler, but the reality remains that rail reliability has instead worsened. In this scenario, the Transport Minister has dealt a more damaging impact misleading the people, than a “fake news” article claiming that rail reliability has instead worsened ten-fold.

Alex Tan