Photo of PAP MP Yee Chia Hsing (front) and Zaqy Mohammad (back) from Todayonline

PAP MP Yee Chia Hsing and Zaqy Mohammad will be asking the Law Ministry to increase penalties and introduce new law provisions to prosecute websites publishing “fake news”. According to the order paper published on the parliament website, the two PAP MPs want greater punishments for “fake news”:

“Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for Law whether the existing laws can be strengthened to increase the penalties against the author or publisher of fake news on the Internet.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether the Ministry will consider setting up an agency to look into the proliferation of fake news on the internet; (b) what are the Ministry’s plans to correct false information in a timely manner; and (c) what is the Ministry’s assessment on the likelihood that such news can be manipulated by foreign parties to influence society including election outcomes and social cohesion.”

However, the Singapore government is likely to abuse the new laws to censor the internet. Publishing news not favourable to the ruling party PAP and dictator Prime Minister is tantamount to “fake news” in the government’s eye.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has introduced a number of new censorship laws in recent years to protect his reputation and his father’s. The internet bear the bulk of burden from the censorship board, with laws requiring websites to register a S$50,000 bond if they want to comment on current affairs.