From: States Times Review <statestimesreview@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 11:11 AM
Subject: Submission for Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods
To: selectcommittee@parl.gov.sg

Dear esteemed Select Committee,

Your committee is a farce, and your members are clowns. Case in point, your chief clown is the belligerent Law Minister who has in the past few years raging about internet criticisms now sits on the self-proclaimed “independent” committee to legislate censorship. You have 8 other clowns of the same political party sitting in the committee: one is a retard who said CPF is not Singaporeans’ money, a full-time lawyer for a church fraudster, a MP who make less than 8 speeches a year, a Temasek Holdings’ crony, an Ex-Malaysian who did not serve National Service, and three other lame duck seat warmers. If you want to create a facade of public consensus, at least put up cronies with no party affiliations because this committee is just a PAP proxy. To sum up your fake process: PAP leader proposes PAP green paper to PAP-led committee who in-turn created a PAP-led Select Committee to legislate policies – with the sole outcome to be approved by the PAP-majority Parliament. A bloody joke, your dictatorship intention is written all over it. You can of course dismiss this first paragraph as ad hominem, since this is how things work in Singapore: everyone knows but speak the truth.

What grandiosity about defending the people from online falsehoods. Your state media ranks 151st in the world for credibility, so please spare us the hypocrisy. It is your propaganda fake news that Singaporeans need defending from. Propaganda fake news distracting Singaporeans from the real issues and deflecting responsibilities. In a dictatorship like Singapore, even the Opposition MPs are hesitant to speak their minds without risking prosecution. Your committee member Pritam Singh knows better: he is after all currently a plaintiff in the S$33 million lawsuit charged by the ruling party.

I am a regular writer in Singapore’s current affairs, two websites which I used to write for have since been shut down by the Media Development Authority: Temasek Review and The Real Singapore. I was forced to self-exile to Australia when the Police’s Special Investigation Section came banging on my door for a good half an hour one morning to “seek” my cooperation on the TRS case. It was a message clear to me: “stop writing” or “get out of Singapore”. I chose the latter and set up States Times Review. As a victim of your censorship regime, I can testify that free media is banned in Singapore.

Fake news that works in your favour is all you want. You want propaganda news to prevail in Singapore, or at least foreign news media to “watch their tongue” when writing about Singapore.

However, I think there is more to it: you want to stem the growth of criticisms against the government. Without an open avenue like States Times Review, there is nowhere else Singaporeans can express their honest opinions on national matters. Negative criticisms have been debasing public confidence in the ruling party regime. This is very bad – for the party of course. It is an absolute bad idea for Singaporeans to be scrutinising every losses of Temasek Holdings, questioning the low interest rates of CPF or keeping track the number of train breakdowns isn’t it?

You are a fool if you believe stemming negative criticisms is a method to restoring the popularity of the ruling party. Without an outlet in the pressure cooker environment, mark my words: social chaos will ensue. There will be more politically-motivated vandalism, violence and anti-social behaviours. It does not matter how stricter your laws become or how many police cameras you install because these acts are spontaneous, naturally frustrated out from the grouses cooked in one’s mind. One example is simply the “return the tray” campaign, where it is a common trend to see people deliberately leaving utensils on the table and returning the tray to get their S$1 deposit back. Police statistics has also shown violence against civil servants have risen, or one can just refer to the 2013 Little India riot where only police and government vehicles were targeted while private vehicles were unharmed.

I believe the above must have been enlightening to some of you who have been sheltered in your elitist bubble. However I am equally tired of the impasse and the lack of political development in Singapore. As such, I implore the committee to give considerations my proposals below:

1) Ban all non-SPH and non-Mediacorp news websites like States Times Review
2) Detain owners of news websites and Facebook groups and social media pages without trial, and mandate a caning sentence for spreading falsehoods. Detained individuals to undergo “de-radicalisation” programs prior to release. For unrepentant offenders, mandate the death penalty.
3) Issue arrest warrants for owners of infringing websites who are based overseas and put them up on the Interpol list
4) Enforce a new fine system for online commentators who criticises the government
5) Empower law enforcers and government officers to confiscate digital devices without a warrant
6) Set up a special court for media offences to expedite judicial processes
7) Set up a reward system for citizens to report each other who might be fabricating fake news
8) Singaporeans to log on to the internet via Singpass
9) Foreign news companies must have allow representatives from the Ministry of Communications and Information to approve daily editorials
10) Set up the Ministry of Truth to counter fake news

The above proposals are legit as they are based off in-practice media laws of legitimate governments around the world. Singapore have more to learn from established democracies like Germany in 1933 and the present-day Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party in Syria and the Workers’ Party of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Alex Tan
States Times Review Editor