S. Isawaran; Straits Times

The Singapore dictatorship recently published an article on its official “Factually” website claiming that its POFMA order issued on Facebook and website States Times Review is justified.

These are however propaganda fake news built on false premises to support its censorship tool. The government claims are ludicrous, as exhibited below.

Below are the reproduction of the 5 false claims made by the Singapore government:

“First, as of 12:00 pm on 13 Feb 2020, the Ministry of Health (“MOH”) has established through epidemiological investigation and contact tracing that 51 out of the 58 cases have either had travel history to mainland China, or links with previously announced cases. Contact tracing is underway for the remaining seven locally-transmitted cases in an attempt to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to mainland China.

Second, MOH’s advice that there is no need for individuals who are well to wear a mask is in-line with the World Health Organisation’s guidance on the use of masks in the community in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. Health authorities in other countries such as the US and Australia have also expressly advised that they do not recommend that masks be worn by people who are well. As a good hygiene practice, people who are unwell and who have respiratory symptoms should wear a mask so that they minimise the risk of them infecting others.

Third, Chinese Work Pass holders placed on a mandatory 14-day Leave of Absence (“LOA”) do not receive the $100 daily support. Instead, it is their employer who would receive the support. Under the Leave of Absence Support Programme (“LOASP”), eligible employers can apply for $100 daily per affected worker for the required duration of paid LOA granted to the worker. The LOASP also covers all workers, regardless of nationality. This includes Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Work Pass holders who have travelled to mainland China on or before 31 January 2020, and who were placed on LOA upon their return to Singapore on or after 31 January 2020.

Fourth, at no time did the Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo say she was working hard to bring more Chinese workers back to Singapore. In fact, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) requires employers of work pass holders with travel history to mainland China to obtain prior approval so as to slow down their workers’ return to Singapore. MOM approved about 200 applications daily for planned arrivals between 9 and 12 Feb 2020, giving priority to applications in essential services like healthcare, transport and waste management so that operations in these sectors are not compromised. Many more applications were rejected.

Fifth, as of 8:00 pm on 13 Feb 2020, no countries have banned travel to Singapore.”

The reasons why the above claims are false is as follow:

1) As the officials provided, 51 out of 58 close contacts of the infected are in quarantine. 7 are uncontactable and missing as of press release, and these suspect cases are public hazards. Going by their logic, using the word “underway” means everyone is accounted for – which is not the case.

2) There is a difference between MOH’s advice against wearing a mask, and MOH’s advice that there is “no need” to wear a mask. Other governments and the WHO have advised there is no need, but they did not advise against wearing a mask in public. See Singapore propaganda poster telling Singaporeans using the specific terms “DO NOT WEAR A MASK IF YOU ARE WELL”:

Government propaganda; Facebook

3) The government has allocated S$100 for each worker on Leave of Absence. Whether if the worker will get the full amount from their employer is besides the point. S$100 has been drawn from taxpayers to pay these foreigners based on headcount.

4) Manpower Minister Josephine declared that she has been approving 200 Chinese workers each day, and how is that not working to bring Chinese workers back into the country? The Manpower Ministry would have to stop approving these applications for them to even have a case.

5) Travel advisories from the 7 countries – namely China, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Indonesia, Qatar and Kuwait – have been issued to citizens advising against travel to Singapore. Their government officials are also prohibited from travelling to Singapore. This is a ban.