In an email circulation to SMRT employees, SMRT CEO Desmond Kwek said that he normally does not comment on rumours but he saw the need to address the fake news from state media Straits Times.
“(The article from Straits Times) generated ground concern that must be addressed. I would like to assure you that when I do (step down), one day as we all must for leadership renewal, you will hear about it from me first. It will not be through some speculative piece in the newspapers. For now, my focus is to work with everyone toward our goals. Let’s stay on track, with everyone on board, so that we can be on top again very soon.”
There has been no action or comment from the propaganda ministry governing circulation of false information, Ministry of Communications and Information, or from Law Minister K Shanmugam. The Law Minister started a “green paper” in Parliament earlier in the month and sat himself in the Select Committee to legislate new censorship laws. The new laws is aimed at censoring news from foreign news websites like States Times Review and impose greater punishments for local commentators who criticise the government.
Singapore’s mainstream media is ranked 154th in the world for credibility due to heavy interference from the government. A local website posting current affairs news will need to register with the government and put up a S$50,000 bond for “good behaviour”. However the key generator of fake news remains the government-backed newspapers which churn out daily propaganda to make the government look good.