Pofma correction directions issued to Peoples Voice party's Facebook page and Lim Tean's YouTube channel

In the video, Mr Lim Tean said: "We spend a quarter of a billion dollars providing free education for foreigners every year." PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK/PEOPLESVOICESINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - A correction direction was issued on Thursday (July 2) by the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to the Facebook page of the Peoples Voice (PV) party over a video containing a false statement about government spending on foreign students.

The Pofma Office also issued another correction direction to the YouTube channel Tean Lim of the party's leader, Mr Lim Tean, where the video was also posted.

Mr Lim and PV are respectively the first candidate and political party contesting this year's elections to receive a Pofma correction direction.

The directions were issued on the instruction of the alternate authority for the Minister for Education.

In the video, Mr Lim said: "We spend a quarter of a billion dollars providing free education for foreigners every year."

The Government said on its fact-checking website, Factually: "This is false and misleading. The Ministry of Education (MOE) does not spend a quarter of a billion dollars to provide free education for foreigners every year.

"While MOE (Education Ministry) spends about $238 million on foreign students a year as stated in a parliamentary reply on 5 August 2019, the significant majority of these students are still required to pay fees higher than those of local students and/or fulfil a bond obligation after graduation."

This is the second time to date that correction directions were issued by an alternate authority for a minister.

The first was on Monday, when correction directions were issued over false statements about cross-border travel arrangements between Singapore and Malaysia which appeared on two Facebook pages.

When asked about the correction direction on Thursday night, Mr Lim said: "I feel that this is another intimidation tactic... to try to intimidate the opposition, especially during this important period of elections."

He added that the issue is a "distraction".

As of Thursday night, a correction notice on the false statement had been posted in the description of the video on both the Facebook page and the YouTube channel.

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