M'sian article linking PM Lee to 1MDB investigation fake & 'clearly libellous': S'pore High Commissioner

The original story came from States Times Review.

Sulaiman Daud | November 08, 2018, 12:20 PM

On Nov. 7, Malaysian website The Coverage ran an article linking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the ongoing 1MDB investigation in Malaysia.

In response to queries from Malaysian media, the Singapore High Commission in Malaysia made a statement on the same day describing the article as "clearly libellous".

According to the New Straits Times, our High Commission said:

"I refer to the article dated 7 November 2018 in The Coverage titled “Breaking News: Singapore Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB’s key investigation target – Najib signed several unfair agreements with Hsien Loong in exchange for money laundering.

The High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Malaysia would like to categorically state that this article is fake news and clearly libellous."

Sensational portal

The Coverage has been known to publish false news stories before.

For example, on the same day (Nov. 7), they ran a story claiming that a Singapore man in "Woodlands New Town" had sex for the first time with his family watching.

Except that this story was debunked by Mothership way back in 2016.

You can find other stories in a similar vein on the website, accompanied by lots of exclamation points:

Screen shot from The Coverage.

STR was the original source

So where did The Coverage obtain its PM Lee story from?

It provided a link to something it called Straights Review, which leads to an article published on Nov. 5 by anti-establishment website, States Times Review (STR).

STR made the same claims which the High Commission in Malaysia called "libellous" in its statement.

It did not provide any evidence for those claims.

Australia-based founder

STR is run by Alex Tan Zhi Xiang, a former Reform Party candidate in the 2011 general election.

He joined the team that contested Ang Mo Kio GRC against the PAP team, which was headed by PM Lee himself.

After losing in the election with 30.67 of the vote, Tan announced that he would leave Singapore for Australia.

Since then, he has claimed that his site's practices is in accordance with Australian law.

In October 2018, Tan claimed that STR would shut down in response to impending new laws in Singapore that address the fake news issue.

However, it is still producing content.

Previous STR claims

This is not the first time that STR has made spurious claims.

In August 2016, it ran an article suggesting that the late President S. R. Nathan was "unpopular" by claiming a near-zero turnout for his funeral, and that kindergarten children were "forced" to watch his funeral procession.

In December 2016, it falsely claimed that US immigration had accepted and processed Amos Yee's claim for asylum.

In April 2017, it falsely claimed that Yee was jailed for political dissent, when in fact he was prosecuted for religious hate speech.

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Top image from Singapore High Commission in KL and Consulate-General in JB's Facebook page.