Published: 26 May 2023
1. The Ministry of Home Affairs would like to point out that an article published by Asia Sentinel, “Singapore kills a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys” dated 24 May 2023 (“Asia Sentinel’s article”) contains false statements of fact.
Asia Sentinel’s article falsely conveys that:
• Following the publication of Andy Wong’s article “The institutional failures behind Singapore's latest COVID outbreak” on Nikkei Asia on 23 July 2021 (“Nikkei Asia Article”), the Singapore Government threatened to end Nikkei Inc.’s business operations in Singapore;
• M Ravi was suspended from practising law for five years because he had criticised the Government; and
• Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern were forced to leave Singapore because government action was threatened against them for warring with Lee Hsien Loong.
2. The Nikkei Asia Article contained many factual inaccuracies. A senior official from the Ministry of Home Affairs responded to the Nikkei Asia Article on 28 July 2021, giving the facts. Nikkei Asia published the Ministry of Home Affairs’ response as a letter to the editor (“Singapore says commentary on KTV outbreak is full of inaccuracies”) on 29 July 2021. At no point did the Singapore Government threaten to end Nikkei Inc.’s operations in Singapore.
3. M Ravi was suspended from practising law for five years not because he had criticised the Government. He was suspended because the Court of Three Judges found that his various allegations against the Attorney-General, Deputy Attorney-General and prosecutors, and the Law Society, had recklessly and baselessly undermined the pillars of Singapore’s legal system and would cause grave injury to public confidence in the legal profession and the administration of justice in Singapore. For instance, M Ravi had accused the Prosecution of being “overzealous in his prosecution and that has led to the death sentence [in Gobi’s case]”. M Ravi had also threatened to commence proceedings against the Law Society “if it entertains any further complaints or partcipates [sic] in any harassment by AG to harass me in doing my job.”
4. Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern were not forced to leave Singapore under threat of Government action for warring with Lee Hsien Loong. They left Singapore after the Police engaged them for an investigation. The Police had commenced investigations into Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern for possible offences of giving false evidence in judicial proceedings, following findings by the Court of Three Judges and a Disciplinary Tribunal investigating charges of professional misconduct against Lee Suet Fern, that Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern had lied under oath. In short, this police investigation has nothing to do with “warring with Lee Hsien Loong”.
5. The Government takes a serious view of the communication of malicious falsehoods. The Minister for Home Affairs has instructed the POFMA Office to issue a Correction Direction to Asia Sentinel in respect of its article. Asia Sentinel will be required to carry a correction notice alongside its article.
6. For the facts of the case, please refer to the Factually article “Corrections regarding false statements of fact in Asia Sentinel’s article “Singapore kills a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys” published on 24 May”.