Why did SDP kena POFMA?

Is SDP really creating fake news? 

It has been some time since MOM’s labour reports and surveys have gotten so much attention.

Year after year, quarter after quarter, the reports faithfully revealed Singapore’s employment and unemployment landscape to the public who tend to be more interested in the latest sale or gossiping about celebrities’ sex lives.

Yet one of the juicier news over the weekend was the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) being sent correction orders by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) over two Facebook posts, and an article on its website

What fake news did SDP spread?

One sponsored SDP Facebook post shows two charts:

  • Local PMET employment dropping
  • Foreign PMET employment rising
Screenshot from gov.sg of a screenshot of SDP’s Facebook post

According to MOM:

  • local PMET employment is actually rising (from 1.17m in 2015 to almost 1.30m in 2018)
  • foreign PMET employment remains stable
Graph from MOM showing more local PMETs are employed over the years from 2015-2019


Graph from MOM showing the numbers of EP holders remaining steady within the 180,000-190,000 range

Why context is important

SDP also had to put up a correction notice on its article (which says a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs are getting retrenched). SDP clarified that their statement was based on a Straits Times report that “PMETs make up rising share of retrenched locals”.

Screenshot of an SDP article which says a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs are getting retrenched


SDP Facebook post explaining how it got ‘rising proportion of PMETs getting retrenched’ from (as a rising share of retrenched locals)

If SDP refers to rising Singapore PMET retrenchment = (retrenched Singapore PMETs) divided by (retrenched locals)

shouldn’t their topic focus on = local PMETs being more vulnerable to retrenchment vs foreign PMETs local workers?

If there is no data of foreign PMETs in the equation, why did SDP turn this comparison into a local vs foreigner argument?

How well does SDP understand the employment situation in Singapore?

Besides false claims and misreferencing data in order to stir sentiment against foreigners, SDP attributes rising Singapore PMET retrenchments as “partly the result of hundreds of local companies continuing to discriminate against local workers” (what’s SDP’s solution?).

We could not find any SDP policy paper on Employment/Careers/Jobs/Workers on their website, and the closest policy paper to jobs (under  Economy) was posted in 2015.

The SDP’s obsession with PAP seems to be a stumbling block that distracts the opposition party on keeping their focus on and building initiatives (not just words) that could benefit Singaporean workers.



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