The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) appears to have taken some of the credit for the Manpower Ministry’s impending plans to update policies to better protect workers.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said last week (Jan 1) that her ministry had plans to update the Government’s Fair Consideration Framework to better protect Singaporeans from job discrimination.
She said: “Expect stronger deterrence for discrimination against Singaporeans when hiring, but also stronger support for employers who are committed to giving our people a fair chance.”
Sharing a news article on Ms Teo’s remarks on Facebook, SDP Chairman Paul Tambyah said on Sunday (5 Jan): “If the SDP can get policies updated simply by raising the issue, think how much more good we could do for Singaporeans in parliament!”
Last month, the party raised the issue of the displacement of local workers by foreigners in two Facebook posts and an article.
Claiming that the SDP’s posts and article contained falsehoods, Ms Teo invoked the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) and directed the Pofma Office to issue Correction Directions to the party.
While the SDP complied and posted correction notices on its article and Facebook posts, it later called on Ms Teo to retract the Correction Directions and issue an apology.
In a statement on Thursday (Jan 2), the party said that its statements in the flagged posts were “in fact, true and correct” and that “MOM had accused the SDP 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”.
Claiming that the incident constituted “an abuse of Pofma”, the party asserted, “For Pofma to have legitimacy, the minister must apologise”.
The SDP applied for the cancellation of the Correction Directions but the Manpower Minister rejected the application.
The ministry said on Monday (Jan 6): “MOM received the SDP’s application to cancel the CDs (the “Application”) on 3 January 2020. After careful consideration, the Minister for Manpower is of the view that the Application does not provide sufficient grounds for the cancellation of the CDs.
“The Minister for Manpower has therefore decided to refuse the Application. The SDP has been notified of the Minister’s decision.”
The SDP plans to challenge the Correction Directions in court. The party said: “The PAP hurls accusations against its opponents but refuses to substantiate its arguments when rebutted with official data. This is hardly the kind of leadership Singaporeans should expect or deserve. It is an unfortunate but very real comment about the calibre of the PAP’s 4G leaders.”