SINGAPORE, Feb 24 — Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Leong Mun Wai has stepped down as the party’s secretary-general to “take responsibility” for the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) correction direction he received last week.

PSP, which announced this yesterday, added that he will remain a central executive committee (CEC) member.

“PSP’s CEC accepted Leong’s decision and is proud that he has demonstrated accountability through his actions, not just words,” the party said on its Facebook page on Friday evening.

Leong made the decision on Tuesday, and Ms Hazel Poa was elected and assumed the secretary-general position on the same day.

Advertisement

“The Progress Singapore Party will continue working to build a more progressive, compassionate and inclusive Singapore,” it added.

Leong, a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, was issued a Pofma correction direction on Feb 15 for alleging on social media that a married couple with mobility problems did not get enough financial aid from the Government.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) debunked these claims, listing the various ways that the couple had been receiving support.

Advertisement

Leong later put up a correction notice on his social media accounts.

What happened

On February 12, the former PSP chief posted on his Facebook and Instagram accounts claiming that a married couple with mobility problems living in the West Coast area did not receive any financial assistance from the Government other than the wife’s Home Caregiving Grant.

This grant is a monthly cash payout of up to S$400 to defray caregiving costs for eligible recipients.

Leong added that she had depleted most of her Central Provident Fund (CPF) MediSave account to fund a leg operation, had to pay monthly instalments for her walker aid and leg cast, and gave up physiotherapy because she could not afford the cost of S$100 a session.

He also said that the couple’s application for further assistance, such as transport bursaries, had been rejected.

Three days later, on Feb 15, MSF said that Social and Family Development Minister Masagos Zulkifli instructed the Pofma Office to issue a correction direction to Leong over his statements.

Alternative news sites Gutzy Asia and The Online Citizen were also issued correction orders for carrying Leong’s statements in their social media posts.

The ministry noted that the couple mentioned by Leong have received about S$39,000 in cash and vouchers from various public sector agencies and community partners since 2021, and have more than US$100,000 in total in both their CPF Retirement Accounts.

It also debunked the other claims that Leong made.

“False statements, such as those made in Leong’s posts, erode public trust and mislead the public about the support that is available and provided to families who are in need.”

Leong later removed the posts from his Facebook and Instagram accounts and put up correction notices to address the false statements.

He also published a new post, saying: “I spoke about their circumstances, and the assistance they were given in a Feb 12, 2024 post on my Facebook and Instagram pages, not knowing that this may not be the full picture.” — TODAY