POFMA – Relatively fast and inexpensive?

SDP has filed an application to set aside the decision of Minister Josephine Teo, who had rejected its appeal to cancel her directions issued under the Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act or POFMA. The application is scheduled for hearing at 10.00 a.m. on Thursday, 16 January 2020 before the High Court.

Re-reading the report in The Straits Times of 2 October 2019 on the commencement of the POFMA Regulations, I realise that I was misled on the issue of costs in POFMA proceedings. I suspect most readers too would have been misled!

The report gave the impression that Minister K Shanmugam made a special concession for High Court hearings for POFMA cases because of public opinion. It gave the impression that under POFMA Regulations, court fees for the first three days of hearing before the High Court are waived and this is an exception to the general rule.

There is nothing exceptional about the waiver of court fees (i.e. fees payable to the court for the first three days of hearing). This waiver applies to all claims under $1 million.

Legal costs are never restricted to court fees. Even though no court fees are payable for the first three days of hearing, an applicant has still to incur $500 for the filing of the originating summons and at least $50 for the filing of an affidavit in support.

Further, court fees are not the only fees that will have to be incurred by a litigant. What if an applicant loses its case? Would the court order each party to bear its own costs or would it order the losing party to pay the costs of the winner?

Let’s assume that SDP loses the application. Would the minister seek payment of costs? Would she magnanimously forego costs which after all will be paid by taxpayers? If she demands costs, how much would SDP have to pay?

I should think that legal costs will run into tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands especially when a senior counsel is engaged.

If SDP wins the application, all costs payable to it will be borne by taxpayers. If Minister Josephine Teo wins, costs collected from SDP will ultimately be paid to her lawyers as part of legal fees. Therefore as taxpayers, we will have to bear Minister Josephine Teo’s legal costs whether she wins or loses.

So what did Minister K Shanmugam mean when he said in parliament and reported in The Straits Times that “the appeal process would be relatively fast and inexpensive for individuals?” He didn’t promise that the government will waive costs in every case!

Nothing is free in Singapore. Legal costs are never cheap. Singapore is an expensive first world country and the quest for justice don’t come cheap. So let us not be fooled by the minister that under POFMA, the legal process is “fast and inexpensive”.

POFMA is definitely not beneficial to us, the people of Singapore!

 

Teo Soh Lung

 

 

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21 Responses to “POFMA – Relatively fast and inexpensive?”

  • never mind:

    the same pap rules shall come back to hound pap one day, sooner or later.

    if everyone thinks pap rules the sky, sorry, we are here to declare, with 100% certainty, that pap does not rule the sky.

    when maker looks down at pap lies and abuse of power, as soon as maker says, ENOUGH, pap clown and wife and their S$m gang go the way of UMNO najib and wife. GUARANTEED.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Fast & Furious is the more likely outcome…fast as it would be thrown out of Court since the Lady with the Blindfold is not tighten whenever a case is against the system and she can PEEP to see who the defendant is…ahhhhh! opposition…the Blindfold will slip off completely to show who is the BOSS!!!

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  • RDB:

    Sinkies will have to “Pay And Pay” until broke for their Masters they aimlessly keep voting for until death do they part. So, who to blame for their voting status quo lor.

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  • You70%s feelingthepinchyet?:

    Really a PAY AND PAY regime!
    Pay with every cent we’ve got or pay with our basic freedoms..

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  • Eddie:

    Wow! Last night when I watched CNA running news strips I saw “SDP sues MOM blah blah….” but this morning the said news strip was deleted or censored “undemocratically” with other news strips of last night remaining intact! If this is not communist style what is it???
    Hope the judiciary can daringly gives an impartial and justifiable verdict to this case without following the CNA route…………….

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  • N.Jungne:

    PROFIT opportunity to be brought back to her small space

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    Singaporeans should get rid fo PAP fast to have a better life. It is “not expensive” to do it. Just vote them out at the coming GE. PAP is a spent force. It is time to bury it with LKY.

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  • Harder Truths:

    Is this fake news?

    https://sg.yahoo.com/news/us-government-approves-singapore-to-buy-up-to-12-f-35-jets-at-us-275-b-070950221.html

    Why does a small island need to spend so much on unnecessary things when some citizens are literally starving? Government needs to spend more money to raise GDP that is why.

    Then they get their bonus. And you get screwed.

    Please vote for them for MORE SCREWING after GE.

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  • Steven Lum:

    Inexpensive to the PAP, that’s what was meant.

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  • TruBlu:

    the LAW MUST STAND FOR TRUTH.
    POFMA IS SINFUL AS IT IS SUBJECT TO GREAT ABUSE BY THE POWERFUL.

    ONLY HEAVEN CAN TELL AND CAN SEE.

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  • Instead of wasting time predicting the foregone (as if SDP has any chance of winning), why not go buy 4D or try to predict which GRC or SMC future PM SW Lee will stand this coming GE.

    If I were LKY, I would field him in Tg Pagar SMC and let him show his prowers, BUT unfortunately LKY is no longer, so my take is that he will be under teh coatails of Vivian.

    What do you think?

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  • Sojourner of truth:

    TRE Techie:
    Instead of wasting time predicting the foregone (as if SDP has any chance of winning), why not go buy 4D or try to predict which GRC or SMC future PM SW Lee will stand this coming GE.

    If I were LKY, I would field him in Tg Pagar SMC and let him show his prowers, BUT unfortunately LKY is no longer, so my take is that he will be under teh coatails of Vivian.

    What do you think?

    @Techie

    Wait come out gorilla Toto jackpot, how?? King Kong very active lately. Now climbing to top of Marina Bay Sands hotel, showing middle finger to Singaporeans and US.

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  • Ah…. then SDP better start crowd funding, WP can raise 1 million bucks in 3 days, hope SDP can better that so can engage a few QCs.

    .

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  • @Sojourner of truth:

    Side track a little, sometimes I wonder if Jack Ma of Alibaba or Pony Ma of Tencent knows how much the “middle finger” makes in a year doing nothing, whether they will feel inferior or not? lol

    Also, you think Alibaba or Tencent would dare employ the “middle finger” to be a junior investment manager bo? How about the CEO of Alibaba or Tencent? lol

    .

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  • oxygen:

    @ Steven Lum

    PAPpypolitics has UNLIMITED DEEP POCKET – all funded out of taxpayers, SDP funded its case out of its own pocket.

    Equity law demands that in such POFMA cases must be funded out of public purse for all litigants to prevent frivilous abuse of hypocritical POFMA laws.

    Steven Lum: Inexpensive to the PAP, that’s what was meant.

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  • Sojoürner:

    @ TRE Techie:

    $38 Billion versus $313 Billion. Can also buy Alibaba and employ Jack as janitor. Scared anot? Now you know why King Kong. hahaha…

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  • No power can save prostate:

    Will Singapore eventually become a China model where the peasants brainwashed to democratically accept One Party Rule without Elections?

    It’s possible :

    1. For 53 years in a row, Singaporeans voted for one party domination.

    2. This means this is what they want.

    3. They strongly believe that one party rule preserves stability.

    4. Democracy is Hackable as proven by countries.

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  • @Sojoürner

    Yes yes, the “middle finger” can always buy over both Alibaba and Tencent and employ Jack and Pony to be janitor and jester. lol

    .

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  • ShunYewCum:

    Sojoürner:
    @ TRE Techie:

    $38 Billion versus $313 Billion. Can also buy Alibaba and employ Jack as janitor. Scared anot? Now you know why King Kong. hahaha…

    Billions can buy a prosttae or not?

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  • Mr Kia Su will CHEAT:

    No power can save prostate:
    Will Singapore eventually become a China model where the peasants brainwashed to democratically accept One Party Rule without Elections?

    It’s possible :

    1. For 53 years in a row, Singaporeans voted for one party domination.

    2. This means this is what they want.

    3. They strongly believe that one party rule preserves stability.

    4. Democracy is Hackable as proven by countries.

    Yes, I believe Singaporeans will eventually go for China model of no elections. 70-80% sgreans are Chinese. It’s in the DNA.

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  • Sojoürner:

    ShunYewCum: Billions can buy a prosttae or not?

    Prostate for a wifey King Kong to use? Unless got lobang to Batam or Geylang.

    GD Star Rating
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