SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Thursday (Jan 2) called for Manpower Minister Josephine Teo to retract the correction directions that were issued last month about statements the SDP made on its website and Facebook about employment issues.
In response to CNA queries, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that it has not received any application from the SDP to vary or cancel the correction directions. “If SDP takes the position that the correction directions were wrongly issued, there is a process under POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act) for them to follow,” said an MOM spokesperson.
It added that in the correction directions issued by the POFMA Office, the SDP “was informed that it can apply to the minister to vary or cancel" them. It also said that the "facts remain that SDP published specific falsehoods".
In its statement on its website on Thursday, SDP said that MOM had accused it of “making statements that we did not make or cited different sets of data which it then used to accuse the SDP's post as false”. The opposition party also said that the three posts in question are “true and correct”.
It went on to allege that MOM was “abusing POFMA for political-partisan purposes to stymie legitimate criticism of the PAP's foreign PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technician) policy”.
“That the general election is not far away makes our case even more salient,” it added.
MOM had issued the correction directions to the SDP under POFMA in December on two Facebook posts and an article about employment trends among PMETs.
The ministry stated that there had been no "rising trend" of retrenchment for local PMETs. "Local PMET employment has in fact increased consistently and continues to do so," the ministry said.
SDP complied with the orders by posting the correction notices, but added further statements on Facebook and its website to make its case, saying that it would be applying to cancel the correction directions.
CNA has asked SDP whether it plans to make a formal application to have the correction directions withdrawn or varied.
Editor's note: A quote from the Ministry of Manpower spokesperson has been updated after their statement was amended.