Ministry of Manpower issues POFMA correction directive against SDP over posts on employment

Source: Google map screengrab.

The Ministry of Manpower has issued three Correction Directions (CD) under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) to online postings by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

The three posts are:

  1. A sponsored Facebook post on 2 Dec 2019,
  2. a post on the SDP Facebook page on 30 Nov 2019,
  3. and an article on the SDP website on 8 Jun 2019.

The CDs will require SDP to carry a correction notice stating that its sponsored Facebook post, the post on its Facebook page, as well as the article on its website, contain a misleading graphic and false statement of facts.

A statement containing the corrections ordered by MOM, has already been published on government website, Factually.

The ministry claims that the graphical illustration depicting that plunging local PMET employment featured in SDP’s sponsored Facebook post on 2 Dec, is wrong.

Image posted by SDP

MOM pointed to its Comprehensive Labour Force Survey which showed a steady rise of local PMETs employment since 2015.

However, TOC would like our readers to note that the figures of local PMETs include Permanent Residents and the results are based on the survey with 33,000 Households.

Comprehensive Labour Force Survey

MOM also took issue with a statement in an article, “SDP Population Policy: Hire S’poreans First, Retrench S’poreans last”, published on SDP’s website on 8 June. The statement wrote, “The SDP’s proposal comes amidst a rising proportion of Singaporean PMETs getting retrenched”.

MOM claims that this statement is also wrong as there is no rising trend of local PMET retrenchments.

It noted that the number of local PMETs retrenched in 2018 was, in fact, the lowest since 2014. Local PMETs retrenched as a proportion of all local PMET employees, has also declined since 2015, said MOM.

However, TOC would like our readers to also note that there is a practice called, ‘disguised retrenchments’. An example is the incident with Surbana Jurong in 2017, where employees were made to choose between two letters;  a letter of termination and a letter of resignation. Those who were still of employable age were compelled to take up the option of resignation letter as a termination will leave a bad mark on their employment history.

MOM claims that SDP’s statements seek to mislead Singaporeans

According to MOM, the Singapore economy is continuing to create jobs despite the economic headwinds. It emphasised that local PMET employment has increased consistently and there is no rising trend of retrenchment, whether amongst PMETs or otherwise.

It went on to state that the alleged false and misleading statements by the SDP have a singular objective, which is to stoke fear and anxiety among local PMETs.

It is important to set the facts straight so that Singaporeans are not misled, said MOM.

SDP has said it is looking into the directions. If it does not comply with the correction orders, the party may be subjected to a fine of not exceeding $500,000.

This is the third corrective order issued by the government so far since POFMA came into force.

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