Photo of Bertha Henson

fPro-PAP website, The Middle Ground (TMG), was ordered by the state censorship board, Media Development Authority (MDA), to take down an article featuring a poll result which breaches the Parliamentary Elections Act. The chief editor, Bertha Hanson, a former state media reporter, received a call from the MDA this afternoon around 1.22pm and was told to take the article by 3.30pm today.

The poll interviewed 50 Bukit Batok residents and the result marginally favoured the ruling party predicting the PAP to be a strong contender in the election. Psychologically, it is meant to threaten Bukit Batok residents that the ruling party might not win the election after all, and cause undecided voters to swing towards the ruling party as voting in Singapore is widely perceived as corrupted and not secret.

Update: A police report was made by MDA at 12.40pm. However, TMG chief editor Bertha Henson remained defiant and said:

“Is this a poll? Not a poll? The Government thinks it is. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not – if you ask us, we’re not 100 per cent sure, which is why we’re leaving it up until about an hour before the MDA deadline.”

Such rumor mongering article is not the first by TMG, the pro-PAP website conducted similar polls in the 2015 General Election, again favouring the ruling party PAP albeit marginally. The end result is the ruling party winning with a huge margin despite it being a close contest. New online websites that spread falsehood in Singapore like TMG are gaining traction as they eye lucrative advertising revenue.

In the 2011 GE, PAP candidate Tin Pei Ling breached the Cooling Off Day law by canvassing for votes on Facebook. The Singapore Police let her off with only a warning.