Chee Soon Juan given POFMA order for comments on HDB policies

SINGAPORE: Minister for National Development Desmond Lee has directed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue a correction direction to Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) secretary-general Chee Soon Juan over a video the opposition politician posted on 17 Feb.

Asserting that the video contained a false statement claiming that the government has rejected the idea of building flats that can accommodate multi-generational living, the Ministry of National Development (MND) clarified that the Housing Development Board (HDB) builds and offers 5-room and 3Gen flats to cater to the housing needs of larger families and multi-generation families who wish to live together.

Pointing to the HDB’s comprehensive approach in planning BTO supply, considering economic conditions, housing market trends, and demographic factors, MND added that 3Gen flats have been introduced since 2013 to allow multi-generation families to live together and were offered in two out of four BTO launches last year, while 5-room flats were offered in all BTO launch exercises.

The Ministry also accused Dr Chee of selectively quoting from HDB’s forum reply dated January 2, 2023, omitting information about the larger flat types offered by HDB to accommodate multi-generational living. It stressed that HDB offers a diverse range of flats to meet the varying needs and budgets of different household types.

Additionally, MND highlighted that HDB has consistently improved flat designs to optimize space usage and cater to evolving lifestyle needs. Despite changes in household size over the years, the Ministry said that HDB flat sizes have remained unchanged since 1997, with a commitment to building 5-room and 3Gen flats

The Government has also taken issue with the reference Dr Chee made to the Forward Singapore (FSG) Report in his video, claiming that “the Singapore Dream is now out of reach for many Singaporeans.”

The government clarified that the FSG Report emphasises the need to refresh the Singapore Dream, as the FSG engagements with young Singaporeans found that the Singapore Dream has expanded beyond material success.

The ministry has advised members of the public against spreading unverified rumours, while Minister Lee also issued a targeted correction direction to TikTok about Dr Chee’s posts.

TikTok will be required to broadcast the correction notice to all end users in Singapore who had accessed the TikTok post.

The correction notices will have to state that the video contains a false statement of fact and provide a link to the government’s clarification, allowing users to consider both versions.

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