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Media Statement On Court of Appeal's Judgement on Singapore Democratic Party's POFMA Appeal

  1. The Minister for Manpower (MOM) has issued a new Correction Direction (CD) under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 (“POFMA”) to the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) in relation to the false statement of fact contained in SDP’s 2 December 2019 Facebook post, following the Court of Appeal’s judgment on SDP’s appeal.
  2. The SDP was issued three CDs on 14 December 2019 for falsehoods on their Facebook posts and an article on their website titled “SDP Population Policy: Hire S’poreans First, Retrench S’poreans last”.
  3. The subject statement identified in three of the CDs was “Local PMET retrenchment has been increasing” (“first subject statement”). An additional subject statement identified in the third CD was “Local PMET employment has gone down” (“second subject statement”).
  4. The SDP applied to the High Court, and thereafter appealed to the Court of Appeal (CA), to set aside the CDs. The CA upheld all three CDs in respect of the first subject statement, and dismissed the SDP’s appeal in this regard. This statement was false as shown by MOM’s data, which SDP did not challenge.
  5. The CA allowed a part of the SDP’s appeal with respect to the third CD in relation to the second subject statement. This is because the CA found that the term “Local PMET employment” used in the infographic in SDP’s 2 December 2019 Facebook is to be understood as referring only to Singapore citizen PMETs, instead of both Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
  6. However, even if we consider only the employment of Singapore citizens in PMET jobs, SDP’s statement that such employment has gone down is still completely false. The number of Singapore citizens employed in PMETs jobs has increased steadily from 2015 to 2019 (see Chart 1). As such, the Minister for Manpower has instructed the POFMA Office to issue a Correction Direction to the SDP in relation to this false statement of fact found in SDP’s 2 December 2019 Facebook post.

    POFMA Chart 1

    Source: Comprehensive Labour Force Survey 2015- 2019, Manpower Research & Statistics Department, MOM

  7. For facts of the case, please refer to the Factually article here.