Issuance of Correction Direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act to Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam
22 August 2023 Posted in Press releases
- On 18 August 2023, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam published posts on his Facebook page and X (formerly known as “Twitter”) page, which made several false statements of fact:
(a) The arrests of 10 foreign nationals on 15 August 2023 for forgery and money laundering offences were a result of China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and China’s pressure on Singapore.
(b) The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) probe into Minister S Iswaran and Mr Ong Beng Seng was a result of foreign pressure.
(c) The rental rates paid by Minister K Shanmugam and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan for 26 and 31 Ridout Road, respectively, are locked in over nine years.
- The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office to issue a Correction Direction to Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam in respect of his posts. Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam will be required to carry the correction notice, stating that the Facebook and X posts contain false statements of fact.
Clarifications on the False Statements
- First, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s Facebook and X posts falsely stated that the arrests of 10 foreign nationals on 15 August 2023 for forgery and money laundering offences were a result of China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and China’s pressure on Singapore. As stated in the Police News Release dated 16 August 2023 (“Ten Foreign Nationals To Be Charged For Offences Including Forgery And Money Laundering With An Estimated Value Of About One Billion In Cash And Various Assets Seized, Frozen Or Issued With Prohibition Of Disposal Orders”), the Police had identified the suspects through intelligence probes and extensive investigations including the analysis of Suspicious Transaction Reports. These operations and the planning of the arrests had been in the works over many months. They were not at the behest or because of any foreign party. No foreign parties had been informed of these cases before the arrests.
- Second, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam made the false statement on his Facebook post that the CPIB probe into Minister S Iswaran and Mr Ong Beng Seng was a result of foreign pressure. CPIB was investigating a separate matter, and came across some information concerning Minister Iswaran. It then looked into the matter. CPIB’s investigation into Minister Iswaran and Mr Ong Beng Seng was not due to foreign pressure. These facts were stated publicly on multiple occasions, including the Prime Minister’s and Minister Chan Chun Sing’s statements in Parliament on 2 August 2023, CPIB’s Press Release dated 12 July 2023, the Prime Minister’s statement dated 12 July 2023, and the Deputy Prime Minister’s doorstop interview on 12 July 2023.
- Third, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s Facebook post made an untrue statement that the rental rates paid by Minister K Shanmugam and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan for 26 and 31 Ridout Road, respectively, are locked in over nine years. The rental rates paid by the Ministers for the Ridout properties were not locked in over nine years. The tenancies are renewable every two/three years, and the rentals are likewise to be reviewed, based on prevailing market value. When the tenancies of the two properties were up for renewal after the initial three years, a revaluation was carried out by professional valuers to peg the rentals to the prevailing market rate. This valuation was based on market comparables.
· The property at 26 Ridout Road was renewed in June 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, for three years with the rent maintained at $26,500 per month.
· The property at 31 Ridout Road was renewed in October 2022 for three years with the rent increased to $20,000 per month, from $19,000 per month.
These facts were stated in publicly available materials, including the CPIB report dated 23 June 2023, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean’s review report dated 26 June 2023, as subsequently reiterated and explained at the 3 July 2023 Parliament sitting during the Ministerial Statements and subsequent clarifications.
Publication of Correction Notice
- Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam will be required by the Correction Direction to carry a correction notice alongside the said posts on his Facebook page and X page, so that readers can read both versions and draw their own conclusions. The correction notice will provide a link to the Factually article, which lays out the facts and clarifications on the matter. For facts of the case, please refer to the Factually article “Corrections regarding false statements of fact in posts published by Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam on 18 August 2023” at: https://www.gov.sg/article/factually220823-a
MINISTRY OF LAW
22 AUGUST 2023
Last updated on 22 August 2023