SDP defends article, will apply to cancel corrections
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) yesterday defended two Facebook posts and an article that drew correction orders under Singapore's fake news law, saying the statements it made "are, in fact, true and correct".
A party spokesman said the SDP will file an application to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) today to cancel the correction notices issued last month under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma). In a statement, SDP also called on Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who ordered the corrections, to retract the direction and issue a public apology.
Responding to the statement, MOM said it has not received any application from the party to vary or cancel the correction directions.
If the ministry rejects the application, the SDP will then be able to file an appeal with the High Court.
On Dec 2 last year, the SDP began running a series of sponsored posts on Facebook, including two about local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).
Both posts linked to the same article on the SDP website titled "SDP Population Policy: Hire S'poreans First, Retrench S'poreans Last", each accompanied by a different infographic.
One contained a graph labelled "local PMET employment" with a downward arrow. The other contained text that said "local PMET unemployment has increased".
On Dec 14, the MOM asked SDP to correct the two posts and the online article. It took issue with two claims it said were falsehoods, including the graph in the Facebook post depicting the number of Singaporean PMETs employed as having fallen sharply.
MOM's correction also stated that a sentence in the online article, claiming a rising proportion of Singaporean PMETs are getting retrenched, is false. In response, the SDP said it had relied on media reports to make its claim.
The next day, MOM said the reported statistics meant among all retrenched locals, the number of PMETs among them had risen.
"This is fundamentally different from what the SDP says, which is that among Singapore PMETs, the number getting retrenched has risen," the MOM had said.
It had cited data from its Labour Market Survey to show the number of retrenched local PMETs has declined between 2015 and 2018. But the SDP, also citing the survey, included data from 2010 to argue there is a longer-term upward trend.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said yesterday it had received an application from the administrator of the States Times Review (STR) website to revoke a correction direction issued under Pofma.
Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam is assessing it.
On Nov 28 last year, the ministry instructed Mr Tan to correct a post on the STR Facebook page. The website itself is blocked in Singapore.
Among other things, the STR post claimed that one person had been arrested and another was being investigated by the police for revealing the religious affiliation of People's Action Party member Rachel Ong in a Nov 17 post on the Nussu-NUS Students United (NSU) Facebook page.
Refuting this, the ministry said no one had been arrested or charged over the NSU post.