MOM: SDP's statement is wrong because number of retrenched PMETs has declined

MOM gives some figures for context.

Sulaiman Daud | December 16, 2019, 12:03 AM

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued yet another public statement in its ongoing brouhaha with the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) over PMET employment statistics, this time pointing out exactly how the SDP erred in the content it published.

The story so far

The SDP claimed in two Facebook posts and an article on its website that unemployment of local PMETs is on the rise.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo then invoked the Protection from Online Falsehoods Act (POFMA) to issue Correction Directions against the posts.

The MOM said that there is no such trend of rising local PMET retrenchment, adding that the SDP's claims stoked fear and anxiety among local PMETs.

SDP complied with Correction Directions, plans to apply for cancellation

The SDP complied with the Correction Directions, and included Correction Notices on its posts and article.

However, it said that it had referred to reports by media outlets such as the Straits Times (ST), Yahoo News and Business Insider in creating its content, adding that it plans to apply for a cancellation of the Directions.

MOM responds

At around 10pm on Dec. 15, MOM responded to this.

It cited the same ST article cited by the SDP, and gave more numbers for public scrutiny:

"What the ST report means is that among all retrenched locals (7,070 in 2018), the number of PMETs among them has risen. This is fundamentally different from what the SDP says, which is that among Singapore PMETs (1,254,000 in 2018), the number getting retrenched has risen.

SDP’s statement is wrong — among local PMETs, the number retrenched has declined from 6,460 in 2015 to 5,360 in 2018."

These exact unemployment figures are not, however, found in the text of the ST article.

Gave explanation in Parliament

MOM added that Minister Teo further explained the context in Parliament on April 1, which you can read at this link, and ST also reported off her answer.

In her Parliamentary comments, she said that retrenchments of local PMETs have not been rising.

In 2018, the number of retrenched local PMETs stood at 5,360, which was the lowest since 2014.

Said MOM:

"The two key points which MOM has highlighted in the correction notices are:

  1. There is no rising trend of local PMET retrenchment.
  2. Local PMET employment has in fact increased consistently and continues to do so.

This is very different from the picture painted by the SDP."

MOM noted the SDP's intent to submit an application for the cancellation of the Correction Directions, saying it would "consider the grounds" of the application if it is submitted.

Our previous stories on this POFMA exchange:

Top image via MOM and SDP's Facebook pages