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MOM's Statement on the Attorney-General's Chambers Submission on the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act Case

  1. The High Court has heard the Singapore Democratic Party ("SDP")’s appeal against the Ministry of Manpower ("MOM")’s Correction Directions dated 14 December 2019 under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (No. 18 of 2019) ("POFMA"). The SDP wanted to file written submissions, and the Court has allowed it. The Court has asked the SDP to file the submissions by 22 Jan 2020. 

  2. The key points made by the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ ("AGC") today, are as below.

  3. SDP published two Facebook posts dated 30 November 2019 and 2 December 2019, linking to an article which stated that there was a rising proportion of local PMETs who were getting retrenched.

  4. The Government has pointed out that this is untrue1.  Data has been published in 2017 and 2018, which shows that there is no rising trend of PMETS getting retrenched.  The truth in fact is that there is an increase in the number of PMETs who are getting employed2, and the number of retrenchments are on a downward trend3.

  5. AGC has said to the Court that publicly available information on local PMET retrenchment shows that the SDP's statement is clearly false. 

  6. The SDP has, in the face of the data, tried to suggest several different meanings to its statements, and sought to back up its position with graphs – AGC pointed out to the Court that these graphs were misleading as well. AGC has argued that the statements mean what they plainly say: that local PMET retrenchments have been rising. 

  7. The Court will decide what the SDP statements mean, and whether they are false. 

  8. Given the current uncertain economic climate, it is understandable that some Singaporeans feel anxious. This is why it is important that public debate on the important issue of jobs is based on accurate facts, and not distortions or falsehoods. Honesty is important. This is why MOM issued Correction Directions (CD) to the SDP to point out that its statements were false and the CDs set out the facts. As MTI and EDB pointed out yesterday, more than 32,000 good jobs will be created over the next few years because of the strong investments. These will benefit local PMETs. The Government is focussed on improving employment outcomes for Singaporeans.