Responding to a rebuttal by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) after they were asked to correct two Facebook posts and an article on their website, the Ministry of Manpower replied on Sunday night (Dec 15), clarifying that there has been no “rising trend” of retrenchment for local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).
The SDP was directed to correct two Facebook posts and an article on its website that were related to manpower issues, the authorities said on Saturday (Dec 14).
In a news release, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office said, “The Minister for Manpower (MOM) has instructed the POFMA Office to issue three Correction Directions (CD) to the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), on the false statements made in two Facebook posts and a website article by SDP”.
While the SDP complied and posted correction notices on its article and earlier Facebook posts, it said that “the conclusions that Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has come to are disputable”.
The party also said that it would be applying to cancel the Correction Directions.
Responding, the MOM said that it will “consider the grounds of their application should it be submitted”.
The ministry also clarified that while the SDP claimed it had based its assertion about “a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs getting retrenched” on news reports, what the said 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. /TISG
MOM’s Statement on the Singapore Democratic Party’s Response
15 December 2019
1 In a Facebook post on 15 Dec 2019 (“SDP’s 15 Dec Post”), the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) claims that it had based its assertion about “a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs getting retrenched” on news reports, including one by The Straits Times (“PMETs make up rising share of retrenched locals”, 15 March 2019).
2 What the ST report means is 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 says, which is that among Singapore PMETs (1,254,000 in 2018), the number getting retrenched has risen. SDP’s statement is wrong – among local PMETs, the number retrenched has declined from 6,460 in 2015 to 5,360 in 2018.
3 MOM further explained the context in Parliament on 1 April 2019 (ST subsequently published a report on MOM’s explanation as well). The Parliamentary response stated that there are now more locals employed in PMET jobs. As a result, in a retrenchment exercise, more of the locals affected could be PMETs. However, retrenchments have not been rising. In fact, in 2018, the number of local PMETs retrenched (5,360) was the lowest since 2014.
4 The two key points which MOM has highlighted in the correction notices are:
There is no rising trend of local PMET retrenchment.
Local PMET employment has in fact increased consistently and continues to do so.
5 This is very different from the picture painted by the SDP.
6 In this period of economic uncertainty, it is understandable that Singaporeans are concerned about jobs. 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.
7 This statement provides MOM’s clarification on the more salient points in SDP’s 15 Dec Post, and is not intended to provide an exhaustive response. In this regard, we note that SDP has responded to the Correction Directions issued by POFMA Office, and stated its intent to apply for the cancellation of the Directions. We will consider the grounds of their application should it be submitted.