Dear Fellow Singaporeans,
As Singapore prepares for another tough year ahead, narrowly missing a technical recession during Q3 last year, much has also happened on the domestic front – more on that later.
The economy grew 1.4 per cent in the three months to September over the same period two years ago, the slowest pace in three years.
More shockingly, the statistics for MOM jobs creation last year grew a mere 31, 800 of which only 100 jobs went to local Singaporeans.
Its unsure how true the figures are but as no one from MOM has came out to refute them it must be the brutal hard truth!
Either those jobs are really very low-end like construction or F & B or they are super high-end which Singaporeans are not qualify for but all in all the numbers are mind-boggling.
Singaporean PMETs seem to face a tougher competition from their foreign counterparts rather than from the ailing economy.
At our end, we saw many jobless PMETs seeking assistance from us this year – many in their 30s and most have at least a diploma or degree.
They usually remain unemployed for a good 6 – 9 months before getting the big break – usually for a contract position which can last one to two years.
Many have no choice but to take on lower-paying jobs and top-notch bankers earning $200,000 a year and above have also being knocking on our door seeking professional help.
We have someone earning $300,000/year who has remained jobless for more than a year and knows nothing else except working off the accounts of financial institutions. She does not seem to have any luck with the hundreds of banking institutions here who hire many top-end foreign bankers.
Being a local jobseeker ironically seems to be a major disadvantage here!
We also knew of someone who only has O levels and a NTC trade certificate looking for a position in the IT industry as that’s what he did for the past ten years – he has being unfruitful for the past 6 months.
Many lamented at the open-door policy of our government during the hay days when there are too many job vacancies chasing after too few jobseekers.
We have no choice but to open the door widely for foreigners to take on such positions which locals avoided – the favourite coin-word from the authorities.
Such jobs that we avoided include administrators, sales managers and event organisers which sometimes pay between $4000 to $5000 a month – jobs that our local PMETs can perform adequately but were denied due to various reasons.
THE PCP policy, implemented two years ago, has a 2-week guideline whereby employers have to list their job vacancies on a government’s job portal, is too short and weak to protect our local PMETs.
If the employer is bent on hiring a friend from his home town abroad, there is nothing we can really do as there is currently no proper restirction on the number of Employment Pass (EP) a company can apply for – if he is paid above $3,300 which is the minimum salary for a low-end EP pass holder.
We advocate that the government consider extending the 2-week date-line whereby the employer has to post the job vacancy online to a month or even more to safeguard employment for our local PMETs.
Employment Pass should also be tied to at least half of local hirings so companies do not hire 100% foreign like some companies do here.
As we prepare for a looming recession, the government must take the cue and ensure that it’s voting citizens are given the first bite to any jobs created.
We also hope that a small unemployment benefit be given to those who are jobless – especially those who are sole breadwinners and coming from the low-end echelon. They must be retrenced and not resign on their own in order for them to qualify for the hand-out.
During this labour day event, we also want to remember those who perished in the line of duty – the two SMRT trainees killed when they are out doing their job for the transporational needs of our country.
We also remember young 14-year-old Benjamin Lee who took his own life after a police investigation into allegation of a molest complaint.
We want to remember Dominique Lee who died while serving his country so that we can sleep peacefully at night.
We want to remember 88-year-old Francis Seow who died in exile abroad earlier this year for daring to stand up against the political tyrant 3 decades ago.
We continue to see dissidents and activists jailed or sued for speaking out loud last year reinforcing the belief that the city state is still rather backward in it’s freedom of speech platform.
We urge the government to allow us greater freedom of expression especially when they have receive a bigger mandate from the recent general election.
We will not destabilise the country’s harmony when they allow us to speak freely as this is what a true democratic country should behave.
We are fast becoming a police state whereby activists are question without the assistance of lawyers present at the police station and there is no CCTV camera around to back up what we say.
Our press ratings is also dipping pecariously low to a level similar to third world communist countries – this is worrying if we want to promote ourselves as a super economic powerhouse to the outside world.
Though we are seen as one of the richest countries in the world according to GDP standard, our human rights record remain dismal and the income disparity is also a major concern for social integration.
In other words, the rich is getting richer and the poor poorer.
Fellow Singaporeans, if you share the same concern as us, do join in for a afternoon of great speeches by our speakers on the fourth labour day event.