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13 Feb 2019
Ministry of Law
Feedback View - 594
Spike in online talk critical of S'pore during spat with KL

The Minister of State for Law said that the spike in online comments critical of Singapore on the social media showed how foreign actors could interfere in Singapore politics.

I believe that he is stretching his suspicion too far. Here are my views.

During the recent quarrel with Malaysia, there was clearly a jam in the causeway and second link. On a few days, the jam lasted several hours.

This was experienced by travelers. I was one of them. I noticed that the clearance on the Johore end was much faster than Singapore. We cannot blame the high traffic volume because it was the same volume on both sides.

I monitored the clearance time over a few occasions during that period using the online app called Beat the Jam. It showed clearly a longer clearance time on the Singapore end.

Later, the newspaper reported that the jam was caused by the lack of manpower to man the checkpoints. I find this reason to be unacceptable. With so many available manpower, our govt is not able to recruit sufficient people to be checkpoint officers? If pay is the question, can it be adjusted upwards?

Some people suspected that the lack of manpower was deliberate. They are probably justified to hold this opinion.

The minister said that 40 percent of the postings are avatar accounts, which do not show the real identity of the posters. There are many reasons why people prefer to use accounts that do not disclose their identity.

Some are people out to create mischief or are paid to do so. But in other cases, the accounts belong to people who are afraid of being targeted for giving honest feedback and grievances.

The minister should realize that several hundred thousand travelers are being inconvenienced daily by the long delays. They have to return home to their families. Surely, they are expected to voice their complaints?

I have personally been the target of avatars and fake accounts who make senseless personal attacks on me. I suspect that some of them are paid by wealthy parties to do this dirty work. I call on the payers to act honorably and avoid being engaged in this shameful activity.

I am in favor of action being taken to avoid this harmful activity by fake accounts, without closing the avenue for people to air their genuine grievances.

Tan Kin Lian


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