Can the Workers’ Party not jump to conclusion and waste everyone’s time? Since when did our Government say they are going to amend the POHA to protect themselves?
From Ministry of Law’s press release:
The Workers’ Party says it will oppose amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act (“POHA”) because the Government does not need to be protected from harassment. The Workers’ Party’s statement is misconceived and misrepresents the issues and the Government’s aims.
POHA provides statutory remedies for two distinct types of wrongs:
(b) False statements.
In AG v Ting Choon Meng, the Government sought to invoke the statutory remedies against false statements, or what has now come to be known as “fake news”. The Court of Appeal found that there had been publication of falsehoods about the Government. But the Court was divided on whether the Government could require publication of the true facts. The majority believed that POHA, as currently drafted, did not give the Government the power to do so. On the other hand, the Chief Justice, in his judgment, said that the Act clearly allowed the Government to correct falsehoods.
This case thus had nothing to do with harassment. It was about false statements.
The Government has never said that it needed protection from harassment. Nor does the Government intend to amend POHA to protect itself from harassment. The statement issued by the Government on Monday, 16 January 2017 set out the Government’s position on false information and not harassment.