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No rising trend of local PMET retrenchment: MOM rebuts SDP

No rising trend of local PMET retrenchment: MOM rebuts SDP

The Ministry of Manpower building. (File photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: There has been no "rising trend" of retrenchment for local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Sunday night (Dec 15) in response to Facebook posts by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

"There is no rising trend of local PMET retrenchment. Local PMET employment has in fact increased consistently and continues to do so," the ministry said, as SDP doubled down on its claims that "local PMET unemployment has increased". 

On Saturday, MOM had issued Correction Directions to the SDP under online falsehoods legislation on two Facebook posts and an article on employment trends among PMETs.

SDP on Sunday complied with the orders by posting correction notices on its article and earlier Facebook posts, but put up another statement on Facebook to state its case.

"The SDP has issued the Correction Notices for the three posts as specified by MOM. However, as stated in our previous statement, the conclusions that Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has come to are disputable," it said under the correction notices.

SDP has said it will be applying to cancel the Correction Directions.

READ: SDP complies with POFMA order but will apply to cancel correction directions

In response, MOM said that it will "consider the grounds of their application should it be submitted".

Further clarification was made in MOM's statement to "the more salient points" in SDP's Sunday Facebook post, although MOM noted that it was "not intended to provide an exhaustive response".

The SDP claimed it had based its assertion about "a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs getting retrenched” on news reports, including one by The Straits Times on Mar 15, 2019 titled PMETs Make Up Rising Share Of Retrenched Locals.

According to MOM, what the ST report meant was 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 said it its Facebook post, which is that among Singapore PMETs (1,254,000 in 2018), the number getting retrenched has risen, MOM said. 

READ: POFMA Office directs Brad Bowyer to correct Facebook post in first use of 'fake news' law

Among local PMETs, the number retrenched has declined from 6,460 in 2015 to 5,360 in 2018, said MOM.

MOM said the context was further explained in Parliament on Apr 1, in a Parliamentary response stating that that there are now more locals employed in PMET jobs, and that as a result, in a retrenchment exercise, more of the locals affected could be PMETs. 

READ: States Times Review directed to correct Facebook post under online falsehoods law

However, retrenchments have not been rising, said MOM, with the number of local PMETs retrenched in 2018 being the lowest since 2014.

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

"In this period of economic uncertainty, it is understandable that Singaporeans are concerned about jobs," MOM added.

"MOM’s objective in pointing out false and misleading statements is to ensure that public debate on the important issue of jobs are based on accurate facts."

Source: CNA/ic(hm)

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