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Issuance of POFMA Correction Directions regarding False Statements of Fact in Mr Leong Mun Wai’s Social Media Posts dated 12 February 2024

Type: Press Releases, All

Topic(s): Financial Assistance & Social Support, Other Updates, All


1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is aware of the following publications making false statements of fact concerning the assistance rendered to a husband-and-wife couple who live in West Coast, and whom Mr Leong Mun Wai identified in a photograph:


a. Mr Leong’s posts on Facebook and Instagram, dated 12 February 2024 (“Leong’s Posts”)

b. Gutzy Asia’s posts on Facebook, X, and their website, dated 13 February 2024 (“Gutzy Asia’s Posts”)

c. The Online Citizen’s post on Facebook, dated 13 February 2024 (“TOC’s Post”)


2. These online publications contain the following false statements.


  • Other than a Home Caregiving Grant, the couple identified by Mr Leong currently do not receive any form of financial assistance from public sector agencies in relation to their daily expenses.

  • The woman identified by Mr Leong had used up most of the funds in her MediSave Account to pay for an operation on her leg. 

  • The woman identified by Mr Leong stopped attending physiotherapy sessions because she had to pay $100 to the hospital for each session.

  • The couple had applied to a public sector agency for assistance with their transport costs, but their application was rejected.


Facts


3. The couple identified by Mr Leong currently receives financial assistance for their daily expenses from various public sector agencies and community partners. These include the Home Caregiving Grant, South West Community Development Council Utilities Vouchers, and NTUC supermarket vouchers from the People’s Association, as well as cash of $300 per month from a temple. They currently receive a total of around $830 per month in cash and vouchers. 


4. Since 2021, the couple have received approximately $39,000 in cash and vouchers from various public sector agencies and community partners. This included $21,000 in ComCare assistance from May 2021 to April 2023. 


5. The couple currently have more than $100,000 in total in both their CPF Retirement Accounts. In April 2023, the woman received a lump sum CPF payout of $5,000. 


6. When the woman was admitted to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) for an operation on her fractured ankle from 20 to 23 June 2023, her hospital bill was about $8,580. After Government subsidies of about $6,300, MediShield Life and MediSave, her remaining bill amount was about $240. The woman had more than $60,000 left in her MediSave account after that withdrawal. As at 12 February 2024, she has more than $60,000 in her MediSave account. 


7. All of the woman’s outpatient physiotherapy sessions at NTFGH, which cost around $25 per session after Government subsidies, were also fully covered by MediFund. She did not have to pay any cash out-of-pocket for those sessions. She will continue to receive full MediFund assistance for her outpatient bills until June 2024, at which point her eligibility for MediFund will be re-assessed.


8. The couple has received public transport vouchers in the current and past two Public Transport Voucher exercises. The man has been receiving subsidised medical escort and transport services from community care providers since 2021. When the woman fractured her ankle, the Silver Generation Office offered to refer her to subsidised medical escort and transport services, but she had declined the offer. 


9. An officer from the People’s Association also visits the couple regularly, and had ferried them for hospital visits, bought meals for them when they could not leave their house, and helped them run errands.


10. 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. The Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health has instructed the POFMA Office to issue Correction Directions to Leong, Gutzy Asia, and The Online Citizen in respect of Leong’s Posts, Gutzy Asia’s Posts, and TOC’s Post respectively.


11. MSF and other Government agencies are committed to continuing our support for families who are in need. If you need social assistance, or know someone who does, please either visit go.gov.sg/smta, call the ComCare Hotline 1800-222-0000, or visit your nearest Social Service Office (go.gov.sg/sso-locator). 


12. For the facts of the case, please refer to the Factually article “https://www.gov.sg/article/factually150224”.


ISSUED BY 
MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT