We refer to MP Seah Kian Peng’s Facebook post dated 1 September 2018. In it, Mr Seah makes a series of misleading statements about several Singaporeans and the Singapore Democratic Party. Despite repeated reminders from concerned citizens, he has neither amended nor taken down his post. On social media, comments related to Mr Seah’s views have become increasingly inflammatory and dangerous.
Mr Seah claims historian Dr Thum Ping Tjin “invited Dr Mahathir to bring democracy to Singapore.” As proof, Mr Seah posts a screenshot from Dr Thum’s Facebook page. Perhaps the MP didn’t read it, because this is what it says:
“I urged him to take leadership in Southeast Asia for the promotion of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of information. I also expressed hopes for closer relations between the people of Malaysia and Singapore.”
Nothing in Dr Thum’s post suggests that he’d invited Dr Mahathir to “bring democracy to Singapore”. Journalist Kirsten Han, who was also at the meeting, has also clarified that no such invitation was issued. It is puzzling that Mr Seah should jump to such a conclusion.
Mr Seah also takes issue with a separate post by Dr Thum wishing Malaysians “Selemat Hari Merdeka” and Singaporeans “happy unofficial independence day”. The MP concludes that this means Dr Thum believes “Singapore is part of Malaysia”.
Mr Seah appears to not know his own country’s history. A simple search online shows that Lee Kuan Yew himself declared de facto independence for Singapore on 31 August 1963:
Dr Thum was merely referencing history when he wished his fellow Singaporeans “happy unofficial independence day”.
In his post, Mr Seah mentions the Singapore Democratic Party. This is bizarre, given that the SDP wasn’t even party to the meeting with Dr Mahathir.
Mr Seah’s Facebook post has incited unwarranted feelings of resentment towards Singaporeans who have done nothing to betray their country. We are deeply disappointed that an elected official and member of the Select Committee on Online Falsehoods is himself propagating misinformation. The MP might have no malicious intent and might even believe he is doing a service to Singapore, but it is clear he has trouble discerning facts from falsehoods. He should not be a member of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. We call on him to resign, apologise and retract his post immediately.
Chan Wai Han
Desiree Lim Harkins
Koh Jee Leong
Lee Xian Jie
Low Yit Leng
Ngiam Shih Tung
Ong Sooi Eng
Pak Geok Choo
Poh Soo Kai
Tan Luo Yi
Tan Tee Seng
Teng Qian Xi
Wong Souk Yee
Woon Tien Wei
Yap Ching Wi