POFMA Office issues Correction Direction to Kenneth Jeyaretnam over posts on CPIB and Ridout Road saga

SINGAPORE: The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office, under the guidance of the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Mr Edwin Tong, has directed Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam to issue a Correction Direction (CD) concerning statements he made in recent online posts.

On 18 August 2023, Mr Jeyaretnam, the Reform Party Secretary-General, shared posts on his Facebook and X (formerly “Twitter”) accounts, making several assertions that have since been disputed as false.

These statements include:

  1. Alleging the arrest of 10 foreign nationals on 15 August 2023, in relation to forgery and money laundering, was a result of pressures from China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi.
  2. Claiming that a CPIB probe involving Minister S Iswaran and Mr Ong Beng Seng was due to external pressures.
  3. Stating that Minister of Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam and Foriegn Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan had rental rates for properties at 26 and 31 Ridout Road locked for over nine years.

In response, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and POFMA office have issued clarifications:

  • The arrest of the 10 foreign nationals was not influenced by any foreign entity. Their arrests followed rigorous investigation efforts, as confirmed in a Police News Release on 16 August 2023.
  • The CPIB’s probe into Minister S Iswaran and Mr Ong Beng Seng was unrelated to foreign pressure. This information was publicly discussed in several platforms, including the Parliament session on 2 August 2023 and in CPIB’s press release on 12 July 2023.
  • The rental agreements for 26 and 31 Ridout Road are not locked for nine years but are subject to renewal and revaluation every two/three years. Recent renewals took place in June 2021 and October 2022, respectively.

Additionally, Mr Jeyaretnam’s claims surrounding F1’s Ecclestone, alleged bribe payments, and connections with a Singapore bank’s overhaul have been refuted.

The authorities state that Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong addressed these matters, emphasizing the proactive stance Singapore took in sharing crucial information with UK authorities regarding Mr Ecclestone, dating as far back as 2017.

MAS’s assessment of the involved bank showed areas for improvement but didn’t find systemic weaknesses that warranted an overhaul.

Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam is now required to carry the correction notice to rectify the alleged false statements he made on both Facebook and X platforms.

The public is advised to refer to official sources for accurate information.

Mr Jeyaretnam had previously been issued with a prior CD in July in response to an alleged claim that the Singapore Land Authority – which the Minister for Law oversees – had awarded renovation contracts for the bungalows to Livspace because its CEO is Mr Shanmugam’s son. MinLaw dismissed these assertions as false.

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