Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has rejected the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) application on Jan. 3 to cancel the Correction Directions issued under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Act (POFMA).
On Jan. 6, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a media release that after "careful consideration", Teo is of the view that SDP's application does not provide sufficient grounds of the cancellation of the Directions.
The SDP has been notified of Teo's decision.
Claims of PMET retrenchment
The SDP had applied for a cancellation against three Correction Directions issued against two Facebook posts and an article from their website, dated June 2019.
The posts alleged that there was a rising trend in retrenchment of local Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs).
MOM stated that the claims were wrong as SDP did not interpret the data correctly.
Article was being publicised
SDP defended their claims, including the fact that they did not use the word "retrenchment" in their Facebook posts. Instead, the word "retrenchment" was used in their website article.
But MOM stated that the use of POFMA against SDP's website article was not done "retroactively".
It was done because the article was linked to SDP's Facebook posts.
According to MOM, it was still being publicised as late as Dec. 2, 2019.
SDP: See you in court
On the same night of Jan. 6, the SDP said in a Facebook post that Teo's answer was "not rational" and that it was a "cop-out".
"MOM’s reply simply insisted that “your Application does not provide sufficient grounds for the cancellation of the CDs.”
This is not a rational answer as the SDP had submitted a detailed account – including analysing MOM’s own statistics – of the reasons for the statements in our posts.
The SDP is confident of our case and we, therefore, have no qualms posting our full document for all to read and judge."
They added that they have "no choice" but to pursue the matter in court.
You can see SDP's post below:
Teo's decision comes after Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam's decision to reject the application of the website States Times Review to cancel a Correction Direction issued against its Facebook post.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the application simply restated the false claims and provided no evidence for the cancellation of the Directions.
Top image from Gov.sg and SDP's Facebook page.