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Monday February 4th 2019

Ministry of Manpower’s Reply To Samuel Letter and His Rebuttal

On Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 8:58 AM, MOM QSM (MOM) <> wrote:

Dear Mr Samuel,

We refer to your email of 29 March 2012 to Minister of State, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin.

Thank you for taking time to give us your feedback. The Ministry of Manpower encourages employers to hire on merit, and to recognize the value and contributions of their local workforce. The Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) had released revised guidelines on Fair Employment Practices in October 2011. The guidelines aim to preserve a strong Singapore core in our workforce. They call for employers to make reasonable efforts to attract and consider Singaporeans for job positions on merit, and to train them and develop their potential and careers. We have shared your feedback with TAFEP. If you have further feedback on issues related to workplace discrimination or unfair hiring practices of companies, you may write to TAFEP at

Thank you for sharing your views

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas Quek (Mr)
Head, Quality Service Management

Customer Responsiveness Department . Ministry of Manpower


From: Samuel

Date: Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: Employment Issues
To: “MOM QSM (MOM)” <>,
Cc: “MOM Chuan-Jin TAN (MOM)” <>

Dear Nicholas,

I thank you for acknowledging my feedback and concerns, which was first sent to Minister Tan Chuan Jin.

However, your reply is only reiterating what I stated in my initial email – that there are only guidelines, nothing concrete – and falls short of addressing any of the concerns brought up. And the guidelines are so general it casts serious doubts on their effectiveness if I may say so.

In your words, ‘The guidelines aim to preserve a strong Singapore core in our workforce’ – does the incumbent government want to see Singaporeans forming and constituting the core of upper, senior management workforce within companies here, or simply having Singaporeans form the core of the general workforce. Are we still talking about Singaporeans as foot-soldiers in today’s context? Should not the government be focusing on getting Singaporeans to be the captains, majors, and generals of workforce instead? If the government had the foresight of shifting Singapore’s economical edge from the ‘manufacturing 70s’ to the higher end financial, service-oriented sectors of today, does it not have the same foresight to simply understand that our citizens have progressed and advanced in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on top of the challenges faced today?

As you rightly mentioned, MOM ‘encourages’ employers to hire on merit. What concrete effective steps, routine checks if any in whatever form, does MOM have to ensure that employers, both local and more so the MNCs, diligently stick to during their hiring, and to drill into them that they must hire based on merits AND on Singaporean’s first. I do not see any ‘carrots nor sticks’ in the guidelines for employing Singaporeans or for flouting the (general) guidelines.

If I understand correctly the part on hiring on merits, this alone does not ensure and protect Singaporeans on fair employment. Companies can still effectively bypass this very general guideline to hire foreigners ‘based on merits’. So, it seems this guideline itself is fundamental flawed. Your reply also does not address the point on which government body does the policing on this. Else, it’s as good as having some laws, no matter how clear and intimidating they may look on paper, but having no enforcers on ground to do the checks thus making these ineffective.

In my opinion, the guidelines are cosmetic at best whether done intentionally or not. They do not adequately address concerns and root out the real causes of this Singaporean unemployment problems. We, Singaporeans, are not lazy, not untalented, not hermits but widely traveled, cosmopolitan, and, based on personal encounters and that of friends, work better, harder, more effectively than many of those so-called government-defined ‘foreign talents’ whom the locals have to report to. Such a shame and pity! If our government still persists that the sons and daughters of Singapore are not good enough after decades of their policies, serious self-reflection is needed within the elites of the governing bodies!

I am not expecting you to give me anymore reply to this, or anything more concrete, as it’s beyond your good self and apparently in the hands of the government to take actions. I am not expecting anything magical to happen just with a couple of humble letters from an insignificant statistic in the eyes of this government. Although I hope my views are being taken seriously into account by the ministry, the minister himself or even this very government, in your efforts to make Singapore a better place with a bright future for Singaporeans who have sacrificed much on this island.

I sincerely thank you again for having taken the time to reply me, and again, to read this. On your suggestion, I have taken liberty to put TAFEP in copy of this as well.

As my first feedback was made available online, I think it is only fair and right to have your reply made available online too.

Sincerely and Best Wishes,

Number of View: 7827

Reader Feedback

24 Responses to “Ministry of Manpower’s Reply To Samuel Letter and His Rebuttal”

  1. abc says:

    Like I said, have their share of votes go below 55%?? No? Then don’t expect anything positive.

  2. SL says:

    MOM’s reply had nothing constructive except to confirm that the authority is nonchalent about the situation and care nothing of the plight of Singaporean workers. It’s a shame.

  3. EPHolder says:

    The issue is that SG doesn’t have any home grown global MNCs, why does Samuel thinks that Swiss MNC is hireng Swiss nationals for their branch office in APAC not based on what Swiss MNC thinks is merit ? These two ladies are Swiss nationals with likely Swiss French/Swiss German knowledge so they can communicate with mother ship, does he really think that there are so many SGreans with those qualifications ? Take a look at Creative, a home grown company, I bet it’s dominated by SGreans (or ASEAN Chinese), because that’s the nature of things. The problem of SG work force that there are not that many GLCs and pretty close to zero home grown MNCs, I’d think domination of government in the private sector has something to do it along with lack of risk taking & well entrenched propensity to follow rather than lead.

    Look at DBS attempts to expand beyond SG, they are inept at best, and look at that 2008 pariah of Wall Street Citibank who has well established presence all over ASEAN. Why do you think DBS seems to be incapable of expanding beyond home base ? They have the size, they have the capital to go head to head with big boys at least within our neighborhood in ASEAN and yet they still lacking. I don’t have to mention OCBC or UOB, they both suck regionally even more.

    • Singaporean says:

      Just to add on further, you mentioned UOB, OCBC and DBS and trashed all the 3 financial pillars of Singpaore and said they sucked regionally. Wonder which cave you just emerged from??!! The last I looked, it was CitiBank which was nearly bankrupted during GFC when their stock crashed below $1, had to sell of their IB, raise assets, laid off workers, and received cash injections from US. None of our BIG3 local banks ‘which sucks’ came close to that. If DBS/UOB/OCBC sucks, then CitiBank is much worst than ‘sucks’, it STINKS! and for you to say all these shows your lack of knowledge n depth – and do you consider yourself a ‘TALENT’??? Please, whichever nationality you are, just do yourself a huge favor n leave Singapore, really we DO NOT NEED YOU! Consider you are doing Singapore a favor if you must, and do your own country proud by heading home to groom your own land please.

  4. Singaporean says:

    your arguement itself is near-sighted and severely flawed. Any companies calling themselves global and seriously wanting to grow will understand that the best persons to penetrate whatever markets they are in, are the man on the streets – the people who live and breathe the region’s market. If anyone should be shallow and dumb enough like you, why not hire an Indian national or a German or Swiss or any other aliens who have never stepped into China, to try to run a business centred on China market. You are an EPHolder, how long have you been here? What do you know abt the Singapore and Asia market? Unless your industry is something generic everywhere in world, such as maybe banking, otherwise it’s idiotic to even be trying to educate you on this? Are you one of those ‘talents’?
    Citibank succeeded becos of global economy n becos they hired the right pple to helm the right jobs in key positions. If DBS failed, it’s only becos of mgmt failure to understand this very same concept. Just like PAP/NTUC tried to bring their OWN MENTALITY & EXPECTATIONS to do business in China, they were unabachedly beaten despite their local/global track record. If Syngenta came here to speak German/Swiss, I think they are in WRONG PLACE n damn stupid.

    Creative SG naturally is dominated by Sporeans, what the heck you expect – Swiss, Germans, Indians, PRCs, etc??? Similarly, Creative global offices employ mostly citizens of those countries. Have you checked? Your retort is so pathetic that you should check yourself. Gd example is Apple – does Apple China, Saudi Arabia or Latvia have only Americans on their top jobs there? Their stock wld hv tanked a long time when Steve was still alive if he shld be as dumb as your arguement. Becos they hired locals, that’s part of KEY reasons why they flourish!!
    If you are so adamant you are a talent, why arent you patriotic enough to GO BACK YOUR OWN COUNTRY AND SERVE YOUR COUNTRY. Suckers NOT WELCOMED. BALEK KAMPONG.

  5. CY says:

    @Singaporean IF the foreigner is better qualified than a Singaporean then should the foreigner be hired over the Singaporean? IMHO yes. Singaporeans should also know how to fight for the jobs they want instead of having them served on a platter to them.

  6. Mr John says:

    @Singaporean Singaporeans only boast about their paper qualifications and not their skills. They want high pay and demand a lot from the company and can’t perform. Companies are hiring foreigners because they have relevant skillsets and they don’t give bosses problems unlike fellow Singaporeans. Don’t even politicise this issue because when government give a green light to hire foreigners, there is a reason. It is fellow Singaporeans who are bringing in foreigners due to their incompetencies not the government.

  7. EPHolder says:


    Seriously, do you really think that company that sells to agriculture industry has that much interest in Singapore market ? They are absolutely NOT interested in penetrating SG market, they need their regional base somewhere where their execs have easy travel around ASEAN. That’s why they pick SG: good infra, safe, good airport and good connectivity to all the regional markets. They don’t sell to Singaporeans. I’d think if you are so well educated you would have been able to connect the dots why MNCs put their regional HQs here. Certainly not because they want to sell to SGreans.

    As far as Citibank, that was my point, pariah of Wall Street, nearly bankrupt institution from USA is running circles around local SGrean banks when it comes to capturing ASEAN market, Singapore’s backyard so to speak.

    As a matter of fact, Apple/Oracle/Intel is dominated by Americans at mid-senior level, and so are other US MNCs that I worked in. Correspondingly EU ones will have a lot more Europeans.

    I have no problems working out of my home country, but travel is a bit too taxing, as I’m not tending SG patch, instead I work for APAC markets. All of my projects are outside of SG, I probably spent almost every other week outside of SG delivering projects around ASEAN. I have no issues working out of HK or KL for example, though these are my 2nd tier choices (HK due to air quality and KL due to infra).

  8. jj says:

    SG doesn’t have any home grown global MNCs? I thought companies such as Breaktalk, bee cheng hiang & HLH are home grown global MNCs.

    If a foreigner is better qualified than a local then should the foreigner be hired over the native? IMHO No. Hiring locals first & giving locals the priority to be hire is not only practice in S’pore, even in countries such as UK, Indonesia & PRC, companies are also urge to hire the locals first by the govt. Sometimes it is not you want to fight & you will get the job.

    Many foreigners who are dip/deg holders whether reside in S’pore or in their native countries also have their own expectations & dreams too. If we pay more attention on those sweatshop reports on foxconn & nike and news on the expectations & demands from those dip/deg holders in India & PRC jobfairs. We will know that Singaporeans are not the only ones who boast about their paper qualifications and not their skills. Singaporeans are not the only ones who want high pay and demand a lot from the company and can’t perform. The world are make up of different kinds of people.

    Who don’t want to work in MNCs, drawn high salary, not so stressful job, have enough time to rest & play with their kids? S’porean or foreigners all the same.

    Having good air quality,good infra, safe, good airport and good connectivity to all the regional markets is a good thing. S’pore F&B consuming quantity has always been on the rise. Agriculture companies or their suppliers are interested in S’pore market. If not then how come dairy farm group kept on opening branches in S’pore? When Carrefour first established its business here, they actually want S’pore gov to sell them a big plot of land to built a super megamart here. I remember S’pore used to have K-mart too in the past.
    Why don’t you just email to agriculture companies or their suppliers & enquire with them whether are they interested to sell their products to S’poreans.

    As a foreigner reside in S’pore whether is because of study or work or by marriage & enjoying all the benefits that you can get. You got no right to criticize S’poreans cos you are a guest or a passerby & not the host.

  9. Pappypetlover says:

    I can only say, MOM is totally irrelevant in today’s context especially to help the jobless or job discrimination. In those days, so called Ministry of Labor at least do some work to help. MOM today just collect levies and take care of foreign workers being abused by employers. Oh also maid’s work safety. We pay them to help foreigners only. Biggest joke!

  10. CY says:

    @jj Working in MNCs with high salary may be more stressful than what you think. Higher pay = more work, not less work.
    CEOs are usually highly-paid, but they don’t shake leg in their office. I leave it to you to think about it.

  11. benny says:

    Nobody will care to listen unless it’s GE time.When u ask a question,they reply stating the obvious rules and regulations.But where’s the enforcement ?
    Mr.Nicholas Quek,QSM of MOM,will not understand your problem unless he is retrenched then he will be traumatised and realised the problem is very real when he could not get a decent job as a Singaporean.

  12. Mr John says:

    Singaporeans only want more pay and less work. That is their kind of mentality which CEOs wouldn’t want to hire. The reason why foreigners are preferred over Singaporeans is so obvious.

  13. benny says:

    Singapore bosses/employers who always complain that they could only improve their bottomlines by cheap FT instead of by improving productivity should just closed down their business operations and relocate to other cheap 3rd world countries.
    DO NO whine like a cry baby capitalist pigs that u could exploit good and hard-working Singaporean employees . Good riddance to these type of Singapore bosses/employers who have very poor ethics and morality !!!

  14. Mr John says:

    @Benny Spot on!!! These bosses are a waste of resources on our shores. Moreover, Singaporeans not only are business-dumb but productivity-dumb too. In the business world, things are moving fast. A lot of foreigners come here to make use of government schemes to enhance their business in order to move forward. If the boss is a fellow Singaporean and the people below him are Singaporeans, then chances of business closing down is very high.

  15. benny says:

    The problem here is that the MIW have been giving a lifeline of cheap FT to Singapore bosses/employers for too long for the past 30 years which was a win-win situation for both the MIW and the Singapore bosses/employers.MIW got their projected annual GDP growth rates to justify their sky-high salaries and bonuses while the Singapore bosses/employers got their improved bottomlines.But once this lifeline of cheap FT is stopped,the Singapore employers/bosses will be clueless and direction-less and at their wits end and many will be forced to wind up their businesses.It’s like giving cheap opium (cheap FT)to the Singapore bosses/employers to smoke and the moment u stop the supply,the Singapore bosses/employers will become lethargic and impotent i.e. bankrupt.In short,the MIW policies will cause many business failures and banruptcies to many Singapore bosses/employers eventually.

  16. SAF says:

    I totally agree with MOM’s uselessness to Singaporeans. It seems they are simply there to service the foreigners and give them EPs.

  17. benny says:

    Now U know why they changed MOL (Ministry of Labour) to MOM (Ministry of Cheap Manpower).In currrent industrial relations framework,if there is any dispute,the singapore employee has to contend with 2 parties i.e. Singapore employer & pro-employer MOM.If u do not have a contractual agreement,good luck to u ! If u do not have a union representation,good luck to u !The singapore employees have been exploited and short-changed for far too long !We only live once,Do Singapore employees want to enjoy a better quality of life with respect and dignity?

  18. eileen says:

    why can’t we accept the fact that Singaporean “looking for high pay & less work” ?
    I’m sick & tired interviewing Singaporean! My 12 years recruiting experience tell me “Is not we don’t want hire Singaporean, is Singaporean reject the job offer!!!!!”
    Most Singaporean request 8 hrs job with weekend off. I’m wondering without Foreign workers, how retail business going to survive in Singapore?

    • anon says:

      Bullshit. So you yourself are getting similar pay and working weekends also??

      It’s the pay stupid. Dangling pay of less than $2.5K or $2.8K in high-cost S’pore and expecting people to work weekends and volunteer for unpaid OT and never taking more than 2-day leave at a time??

      People with family here need to consider housing, raising children, supporting elderly parents, etc, no need to talk about planning for their own retirement.

      Foreigners also have the same mentality too. Ask any PME foreigner on P1 or P2 E-pass with family here in S’pore whether he/she wants to work for you. They will tell you to fark off.

      The only kind of foreigners you want are those who feel that $1.5K is like $7.5K salary, and $2K is like $10K salary. It’s like a S’porean admin clerk earning $2K being offered similar job in Switzerland paying $7K, and with much better work conditions — strictly 5 days, 8 hrs a day, strict labour laws and strong union movement.

      However, unlike S’pore, Switzerland prevents foreigners from going there and offering themselves at cheaper salaries.

    • Mr John says:

      I agree with you on facts not just the mindset of Singaporeans, it has also got to do with being choosy. Singaporeans don’t possess any skills that adds value to businesses. So in other words, Singaporeans only bring problems into the working world. Thus, most companies don’t want to hire Singaporeans for that fact that they are not worth hiring. Pay is just an excuse to cry wolf.

      • EPHolder says:

        Are you for real or just jerking everyone’s chains ? All these retail shops that rely on almost slave labor need to go out of business. If you can’t operate your business in developed country with developed country’s cost structure, go bust please instead of whining how you can’t find cheap slaves.

        One big failure of PAP is inability to prepare citizens to jobs that are higher up on value chain. That extends to business owners just as well who are stuck with 3rd world business ideas and seem to be incapable to operate a modern business.

        As far as employees being choosy, they are not choosy enough in my opinion, I had multiple discussions with upper management where I politely told them to go take a hike instead of doing what they were asking (putting over time on week ends w/o good justification, etc), whereas SGreans look at me in horror and just go along with big boss demands.

    • jj says:

      Is Singapore a developing or developed country?

      Why is it wrong for Singaporeans looking for jobs with high pay & less workload, working hours 8 hrs with weekend off?

      Do you think that non-Singaporeans are not looking for jobs with high pay & less workload, working hours 8 hrs with weekend off?

      In Australia, retail business operate in normal office working hours, still the retail industry over there prospers. But in Singapore, we dare not try it.

  19. benny says:

    If Singaporeans do not add value to businesses,then the PAP’s education system is a colossal failure and kaput as it does not produce the skills,knowledge and abilities required in industries.Similarly,what’s the use of having so many scholars scoring double or triple distinctions at Cambridde,Oxford or Harvard when they don’t create jobs for singaporeans and don’t add value to the economy but are just employees of the Civil Service ? What we have in Singapore is a nation of robots and humanoids who are taught and trained not to think too much and not to question too much,must be compliant and obedient or else u will face the music!Do we need to revamp and transform our universities,polytechnics, ITEs and schools ?The answer is obvious,But first we must revamp and transform the Govt in order that Singapore and Singaporeans can enjoy a better quality of life with respect and dignity !

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