Blogger says he was seeking clarification over N95 masks

Blogger says he was seeking clarification over N95 masks
Mr Ravi Philemon (left), editor of socio-political website The Online Citizen (TOC).

SINGAPORE - Blogger Ravi Philemon on Thursday again defended his decision to post an unverified allegation that none of the Government's nine million N95 masks was for the public during the haze.

He said he had made the posting to clarify things as the Government's assurances about the masks "did not tally with the situation on the ground".

The statement released on Thursday, marking his second bid to defend himself, came after Minister of Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on Wednesday said the blogger had "no basis for his assertion".

Dr Yaacob, in a Facebook post, pointed out that Mr Philemon had posted the allegation about the masks being kept out of the public's reach after the Government had announced it would be giving out one million N95 masks free to lower-income households.

On Thursday, too, the originator of the allegation identified himself, explaining how he came to hear the claim.

He identified himself in a public Facebook post as Victor Chen Guan Rong. He gave no further details about himself but said he received the information from his father, who in turn got it from phone calls he made to pharmacies, medical suppliers and clinics on June 21.

His posting, the one that Mr Philemon reposted on his wall, said: "Yes the nine million masks are coming into Singapore only on Monday. But none will be for the public, the entire batch will be under exclusive control by the G (Government) and all distributions (sic) of the masks will be under the tightest of scrutiny".

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