According to a state media reporter from TodayOnline who questioned the Select Committee why are foreigners allowed to give testimonies on domestic national security and foreign affairs, the various government ministries refused to answer and said “no comment”.
The Singapore government have previously banned foreigners from commenting on domestic policies, citing “foreign interference” as a threat to national security. Private event organisers have been previously been fined for inviting foreigners to speak, even it is only through Skype.
The Select Committee in Parliament today ironically became a victim of foreign influences from various countries including Philippines, Turkey, Ukraine and Germany.
Filipino Myla Pilao, Turkish national Gulizar Haciyakupoglu, Ukrainian Ruslan Deynychenko and two Germans were invited to speak in Singapore Parliament at the Select Committee public hearing. All the foreigners expressed strong support for greater censorship in Singapore, with the Ukrainian threatening that Singaporeans might “one day wake up to see people shooting each other with machine guns because TV told them to do so.”
Turkish national Gulizar Haciyakupoglu was given a private hearing with the Select Committee, and she singled out a foreign country whom she alleged attacked Singapore:
“A country has waged information warfare against Singapore in recent months through news articles and social media, in its attempts to influence specific segments in the international sphere.”
Interestingly, the Turkish said that the government state media is guilty of helping this unnamed country spread their “fake news”:
“The use of mainstream and social media legitimises this particular state’s actions.”
German Morteza Shahrezaye told the Select Committee to impose greater punishments on companies like Facebook saying the existing “flag and report” function is not effective:
“(Flag and report) could also be abused, such as when political opponents systematically flag social media posts they do not agree with in the hope that they will be removed. Instead, these platforms should be held accountable and penalised, such as through fines, for allowing “illegal content” to persist in cyberspace.”