Manpower minister invokes POFMA against S'pore Democratic Party posts

Three Correction Directions against two Facebook posts and one website article.

Sulaiman Daud | December 14, 2019, 05:50 PM

The manpower minister has issued three correction directions under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Act (POFMA) against two social media posts made by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and an article on its website.

On Dec. 14, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement that the three correction directions were issued against the following posts:

Dec. 2 sponsored post

A sponsored post on Facebook on Dec. 2 by SDP with a graphical illustration depicting "plunging local PMET employment."

However, this post may not be accessible on SDP's Facebook page.

Nov. 30 Facebook post

A Facebook post on Nov. 30, linking to an article on the SDP's website.

The post also included a graphic that claimed "Local PMET unemployment has increased. The number of foreign PMETs has also increased. Coincidence? We think not."

SDP article

The article on the SDP's website itself, dated June 8, 2019.

The correction directions require the SDP to include a correction notice on each of the posts, to state that they contain a "misleading graphic" and "false statement of facts."

MOM: Local PMET employment has consistently increased

MOM said that it was wrong to claim that local PMET unemployment has risen.

MOM said: "As reported in the Ministry of Manpower’s Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, local PMETs employment has risen steadily since 2015."

MOM also noted that the two Facebook posts linked to the article, which included the line: "The SDP’s proposal comes amidst a rising proportion of Singaporean PMETs getting retrenched."

MOM said this is wrong:

"There is no rising trend of local PMET retrenchments. 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.

The Singapore economy is continuing to create jobs despite the economic headwinds. Local PMET employment has increased consistently. There is no rising trend of retrenchment, whether amongst PMETs or otherwise."

MOM: SDP statements aim to stoke fear and anxiety among local PMETs

MOM added that the SDP's "false and misleading statements" have a singular objective, to "stoke fear and anxiety among local PMETs".

Government fact-checker website Factually provides some statistics.

First time POFMA invoked against posts made by political party

Previously, the finance minister invoked POFMA against a post made by Progress Singapore Party member Brad Bowyer.

However, that post was on Bowyer's personal Facebook page. He complied with the correction notice.

The home affairs minister later invoked POFMA against a Facebook post by the States Times Review.

When its editor, Alex Tan, refused to comply, POFMA was then invoked against Facebook itself.

However, this is the first time that POFMA has been invoked against a post on the official Facebook page and website of a Singaporean political party.

Mothership has contacted the SDP for comment.

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Top image from MOM and SDP's Facebook pages.