TL;DR: In a POFMA saga involving another court case with the Singapore Democratic Party, Even after releasing falsehoods in a Facebook post regarding local PMET employment, Chee Soon Juan refuses to present hard facts on his case, even when confronted with the truth.
About 2 weeks ago, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issued a new POFMA directive to the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) for a 2019 Facebook post on ‘local PMET employment’.
The POFMA directive issued by MOM states that the information provided in the Facebook post that SDP advertised on Facebook on “declining local PMET employment rates” was false. The Facebook post was an advertisement with a link to an article on the party’s website titled “SDP Population Policy: Hire S’poreans First, Retrench S’poreans Last”. It also contained a graph with a downward-pointing arrow titled Local PMET Employment.
Before we continue, for those of you unsure about POFMA, it stands for the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act. According to the official POFMA Office’s website, it is further defined as;
“POFMA helps protect the Singapore public against online harm by countering the proliferation of online falsehoods. POFMA’s primary tools to correct falsehoods are correction directions which require recipients to insert a notice against the original post, with a link to the Government’s clarification. The clarification sets out the falsehoods and facts for the public to examine, without the original post being removed. Readers can read both the original post and the facts, and decide for themselves what is the truth.”
In light of this, Chee Soon Juan lamented in a Facebook post dated 19 October 2021. His Facebook below:
Funny how Chee was quick to deviate attention from the fact that the SDP’s post spread false news and how the authorities stepped in to curb the spread of fake news, rather than address and clarify on the points that the SDP made in their post. If you’re unsure of what Chee is talking about, we’ve put together a summary of what went down.
Let’s go back to 2019.
So back in 2019, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) received three correction directions from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for the following posts;
- An online article published in June 2019 titled SDP Population Policy: Hire S’poreans First, Retrench S’poreans Last;
- A Facebook post in November 2019 linking to the above article;
- A Facebook advertisement in December 2019 containing a link to the article and a graph with a downward-pointing arrow titled Local PMET Employment.
In the SDP posts mentioned above, graphs were included, allegedly showing plunging employment of local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in Singapore. In an article published on gov.sg, these falsehoods in Facebook posts, advertisements and websites were debunked.
Here’s a summary on it below:
#1 SDP claims that the Singaporean PMET employment has been declining whereas the employment of Foreign PMETs have been rising
Screenshot taken from the SDP’s 2019 Facebook post
We don’t know where the SDP got their information from (they never actually clarified their sources), but from this graph, it is apparent that they’re trying to push a Local PMET vs Foreign PMET agenda; suggesting that local PMET employment has gone down due to preferential treatment for foreign PMETs.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s Comprehensive Labour Force Survey (CLFS) shows that Singapore Citizen PMET employment has risen steadily since 2015.
Source: Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, Manpower Research & Statistics Department, MOM
So…. How did that graph in 2019 come about? It is also important to note that Chee was bitching about the fact that the MOM implemented their own time period to showcase the data, whereas their 2019 facebook post did not state any time period for the data presented.
Only data and trends worth showing are the ones that actually matter right Chee? If you really have a problem, can you tell us how the graph you used came about, and which time period it was for?
#2 The SDP also implied that the retrenchment of Singaporean PMETs has been on the rise.
The SDP website states that the party’s “proposal comes amidst a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs getting retrenched”.
There has been no rising trend of local PMET retrenchment since 2015. The number of retrenched local PMETs has declined from 6,460 in 2015 to 5,360 in 2018, the lowest since 2014. Again, false news.
So… does the SDP deserve the POFMA directive? We think yes.
Fast forward to 2021.
After a slew of court hearings and appeals, the court upheld two other correction directions against SDP, as well as the other part of the third correction direction. The SDP’s graph showing plunging employment of local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) was false, giving statistics to show that local PMETs employment had risen steadily since 2015. SDP’s statement that its proposal comes “amidst a rising proportion of Singaporean PMETs getting retrenched” was also false.
SDP and lawyer Suresh Nair turned to the court to set aside the three correction directions it received, arguing on various grounds including that the burden of proof was on the minister or AGC, and that what the minister claims SDP said may not be what SDP meant.
SDP had failed in its attempts to override the correction directions at every stage before this. The partial win that the SDP got from the three corrective directions was the fact that the graph showcased did not state whether or not the graph depicted the statistics of local Singaporean PMETs and permanent residents or purely from a “local Singaporean” point of view. This was a pretty lame “win” if you ask us. It still shows that the SDP won on account of the lack of clarity.
Chee, stop it with the gaslighting. We are damn sick of it.
Chee being the psychopath he is – tried to play the victim again and use the POFMA directive against them.
He also proceeded to try putting the government in an oppressive light, and brought the FICA issue into the picture – again, fuelling the local vs foreigner narrative in Singapore (PSP, much?)
We wrote an article debunking what FICA really stands for:
We just wish Chee would swallow his pride for once, admit that he’s wrong, that he made a mistake, and move on from it. Really, it’s for the good of everyone.