MOM issues new Pofma order to SDP after Court of Appeal’s ruling

·Editorial Team
·2 min read
Ministry of Manpower logo and Singapore Democratic Party hashtag. (FILE PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore)
Ministry of Manpower logo and Singapore Democratic Party hashtag. (FILE PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Minister for Manpower (MOM) said on Friday night (8 October) it has issued a new Correction Direction (CD) under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 (Pofma) to the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) over a false statement of fact in SDP’s 2 December 2019 Facebook post.

The move comes after the Court of Appeal’s (CA) judgment on SDP’s appeal in relation to three CDs issued to the opposition party on 14 December 2019. The CDs pertained to falsehoods on SDP’s Facebook posts and an article on its website titled “SDP Population Policy: Hire S’poreans First, Retrench S’poreans last”.

The subject statement identified in three of the CDs was “Local PMET retrenchment has been increasing” (first subject statement). An additional subject statement identified in the third CD was “Local PMET employment has gone down” (second subject statement).

The SDP applied to the High Court, and thereafter appealed to the CA to set aside the CDs. The CA upheld all three CDs in respect of the first subject statement, and dismissed the SDP’s appeal in this regard.

The CA allowed a part of the SDP’s appeal with respect to the third CD regarding the second subject statement. This is because the CA found that the term “Local PMET employment” used in the infographic in SDP’s 2 December 2019 Facebook is understood as referring only to Singapore citizen professional, manager, executive and technician (PMETs), instead of both Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

In a statement on 14 December 2019 regarding the three CDs against SDP, MOM wrote then, “On 2 December 2019, SDP published a sponsored Facebook post, which contains a graphical illustration depicting plunging local PMET employment. This is wrong. As reported in the Ministry of Manpower’s Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, local PMETs employment has risen steadily since 2015.”

In its statement on Friday, MOM said, “However, even if we consider only the employment of Singapore citizens in PMET jobs, SDP’s statement that such employment has gone down is still completely false. The number of Singapore citizens employed in PMETs jobs has increased steadily from 2015 to 2019.”

As such, the Minister for Manpower has asked the POFMA Office to issue a CD to the SDP in relation to this false statement of fact found in SDP’s 2 December 2019 Facebook post, MOM added.

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