Published: 08 October 2021
1. The Singapore Court of Appeal (CA) has dismissed an application by The Online Citizen Pte Ltd (TOC) to set aside the Correction Direction (CD) issued against it on 22 Jan 2020. TOC had carried a statement that had been issued by a Malaysian group calling itself “Lawyers for Liberty” (LFL). LFL had made scurrilous, false, allegations against Singapore Prison Service (SPS), including that SPS used “brutal and unlawful” execution methods.
2. The CA noted that TOC did not attempt to prove any of the serious allegations. The CA said that LFL’s allegations were “categorically refuted” by evidence produced by SPS. LFL’s allegations – as reproduced by TOC – were “baseless”.
3. The CA held that there were no grounds for setting aside the CD. TOC had put out a clearly false statement of fact.
4. The Court also dismissed all arguments that POFMA is unconstitutional, and held that it was “clear beyond doubt” that Parliament considered POFMA to be “necessary or expedient” in the interests of national security and public order.
5. The CA also said that POFMA contained a proportionality test, as the Minister had said in Parliament, both during the POFMA debate and the recent FICA debate.