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SDP granted leave to appeal POFMA challenge decision

SDP granted leave to appeal POFMA challenge decision

SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan and chairman Paul Tambyah speaking at a press conference on Sep 2, 2015. (File photo: Sarah Yang)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was granted leave on Wednesday (Feb 26) to appeal a ruling in its case against orders to correct its online posts.

With the approval, SDP will next argue its case in the Court of Appeal, the highest court in Singapore.

The party had failed in its first challenge against correction orders under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

Secretary-general Chee Soon Juan told CNA after a brief chamber hearing that the party was granted leave to appeal the outcome in a hearing at a later date.

No dates have been fixed yet.

READ: Judge dismisses SDP's POFMA challenge, says statements were false in face of statistical evidence

Asked if they will be engaging lawyers for the appeal, Dr Chee said "it looks as though we will have to", but added that the party is not at that point yet.

Dr Chee, who was accompanied by vice-chairman John Tan, had represented the party in chamber hearings in the first POFMA challenge last month.

SDP had been issued correction directions by the Manpower Minister over three of their online posts on employment in Singapore.

SDP had made two statements labelled as false by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM): That local PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) retrenchment has been increasing, and that local PMET employment has gone down.

READ: SDP argues for MOM to release data on local employment to prove the party's statements are false

These statements were made in a June 2019 article on its website and two Facebook posts in late 2019.

Justice Ang Cheng Hock had dismissed the first appeal, saying he could not accept interpretations of the statements offered by SDP, over the same set of statistics from MOM.

Asked what he thought his chances were in the upcoming appeal, Dr Chee smiled and said: "I couldn't tell you."

CNA has contacted the Attorney-General's Chambers for more information.

Source: CNA/ll(hm)


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