SINGAPORE: An assistant professor from the National University of Singapore has apologised for an opinion piece he wrote for the academic website East Asia Forum, for which a correction order was issued on Sept 13.
He has also retracted the piece from the site. The page where it was published now reads, “The 18 August 2023 article titled ‘A spate of scandals strikes Singapore’ has been removed from our website at the request of the author.”
The order, issued under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), was for Dr Ying-Kit Chan’s piece titled “A spate of scandals strikes Singapore.”
The piece contained false statements about the independence of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s approach to addressing marital infidelity among parliamentarians, the government said.
Responding to questions from TODAY Online on Monday night (Sept 18), Dr Chan said he “sincerely and unreservedly apologises” for the errors in the piece and thanked the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for the correction it issued.
He added that the NUS had no knowledge of the piece and that the op-ed had been written of his own volition
“I am remorseful and deeply sorry to the prime minister, CPIB (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau), NUS, and all the persons whom I have named for my actions and the distress my article has caused,” TODAY quotes Dr Chan as saying.
He also wrote that he had “failed to consider the fact that the Government approaches allegations of corruption and misconduct in personal lives differently, and that the PM has indeed not conflated the issues of corruption and marital infidelity”.
“My neglect and oversight of the facts have resulted in a flawed and biased article, which lacked academic rigour and conveyed false and misleading information to its readers. I will exercise greater prudence in my scholarship and hereby undertake that I will not contribute to speculations and unverified rumours,” added Dr Chan.
He then went on to thank PMO for its corrections and said: “I am truly sorry and have retracted the article from East Asia Forum.”
The NUS academic’s article had received considerable attention. However, the PMO said, “Whilst the author is free to express his views on the above matters, his article makes false and misleading statements while omitting key facts on these matters of public interest.”
On Sept 16, after East Asia Forum failed to adhere to the correction order, the government required Internet service providers (ISPs) in Singapore to block access to the site.
The geo-block disallows netizens in Singapore to access the site, especially the portions where false information was disseminated. /TISG