States Times Review to close down after getting blocked in S'pore by authorities

Singaporeans can still access the site using VPN.

Joshua Lee | Belmont Lay | November 09, 2018, 11:54 PM

Anti-establishment website States Times Review is no more.

Its founder Alex Tan said on Friday, Nov. 9 at 9.45pm he intends to close the site down.

This news comes after access to the site was blocked by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in Singapore some time after 9pm earlier in the night.

Shut down on own accord

Tan said the STR Facebook page will be shut down "two weeks from now", while the website will remain until the end of the next general election.

It can be accessed by Singaporeans via virtual private network (VPN) as Singapore-based IP addresses are blocked.

This not totally unprecedented move puts the STR site in the same league as some pornographic websites that have been blocked from being accessed by visitors from Singapore.

In a Facebook post announcing the decision, Tan wrote: "Do take note that this shutdown notice is of my own volition and not pressure from anyone or the dictatorship."

Failed to remove an article

His latest announcement came less than four hours after a previous Facebook post said he "refused" to remove an article said to be defamatory by Singapore authorities.

Earlier on Friday, the IMDA had ordered the site to take down an article linking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investigations, which the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said was baseless and defamatory.

The STR article remained online after 5pm, the deadline given by IMDA.

By 9pm, the STR website was inaccessible, bearing only the message: "The website that you are trying to access is unavailable as it contains prohibited material."

'Lost channel to reach Singaporeans'

Tan said in his Facebook post that the site had been "blocked under false charges of 'fake news' and 'criminal defamation' laid by the Singapore dictatorship" and that it would "cease and desist considering that it lost a channel to reach Singaporeans".

Tan also said that he would "stop writing and continue life in Australia".

"The sacrificial (sic) of my Singaporean passport is my last gift to my beloved Singapore and Singaporeans," he said.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam also called the allegations in the article "absurd".

This was after the allegations were picked up by mainstream media in Malaysia and circulated.

You can read Tan’s full farewell message below:

The States Times Review website has been blocked under false charges of “fake news” and “criminal defamation” laid by the Singapore dictatorship.

As such, the website will cease and desist considering that it lost a channel to reach Singaporeans.

Thank you for your support over the past 3 years for STR, and for those who has been faithfully following my articles for the 3 years at TRS and 2 years at TR.

The sacrificial of my Singaporean passport is my last gift to my beloved Singapore and Singaporeans.

Hereon, I will also announce that I have decided to stop writing and continue my life in Australia.

This Facebook page will shut down in 2 weeks from now but the website will remain until the General Elections is over. Do take note that this shut down notice is of my own volition, and not pressure from anyone or the dictatorship. I have no intention to impugn my integrity bending forward for a scum government.

It has been an honour serving Singaporeans. Thank you.

Alex Tan

STR Editor