Are the Winds of Change Blowing or is it just Lip Service?

Leong Mun Wai

In the run-up to the PSP Jobs Debate, the winds of change seem to be blowing stronger by the weeks as more and more government officials and MPs seem to have been openly acknowledging that the discrimination Singaporean workers face vis-à-vis foreign workers in our local job market is significant and legitimate. Particularly noteworthy are the statements made by MP Patrick Tay and MP Saktiandi Supaat in Parliament recently.

Echoing previous sentiments that I have shared, Patrick Tay agreed that “the role that foreign manpower plays, (which) is to complement and enhance the capabilities of the local workforce and not to replace it”, while Saktiandi Supaat recognised that many locals “believe that foreigners in a hiring position are more inclined to hire and promote people of their own nationality”, a problem that we have been trying to highlight.

Discriminatory hiring practices that adversely impact Singaporeans’ employment chances are not new. Alternative parties have been advocating for years now, for the Government to take tougher actions against discriminatory hiring practices that have displaced a significant number of our Singaporeans.

As a result of the inadequate policy safeguards and enforcement in the past ten to fifteen years, such hiring practices have very unfortunately become deeply embedded in the functioning of our labour market. A reversal of this would require a whole-of-government approach, tackling the issue from a number of angles simultaneously.

What Patrick Tay, a leader of the NTUC and Saktiandi Supaat, a board member of TAFEP (Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices) have shared run parallel to many concerns and ideas that have already been raised by alternative parties.

However, their concurrence, backed by more complete information and data from the government, has added greater weight to the picture painted by the alternative parties. Some of the information and views shared by them are as follows:

1. 50% of the 1000 mature PMEs aged 40 and above surveyed by NTUC believed that tightening of the employment pass (EP) quota in sectors which have weak hiring practices of Singaporeans will help to protect their jobs.

2. Many PMEs view the Fair Consideration Framework’s job advertisement requirement as mere window dressing as employers may already have a foreign candidate in mind when they post their job advertisements.

3. Many PMEs feel that while the Government has implemented several changes to the foreign manpower policies over the past years, those policy tweaks are insufficient to curb unfair competition as there are still companies that continue to engage in unacceptable practices.

4. Many PMEs believe that foreigners in a hiring position are more inclined to hire and promote people of their own nationality. According to TAFEP’s annual report for fiscal year 2018/2019, …. one in four felt that they were victims of preferential treatment to their foreign counterparts.

5. Many PMEs opine that there is currently no proper framework for the transfer of knowledge for roles which employers claim that there are skills shortages. Hiring foreigners to fill skill gaps is a necessity, but allowing this to continue with no effort to localise after an extended period of time, is simply not reflective of good corporate citizenship.

6. TAFEP should be given more resources and power to wield a bigger stick against offenders who discriminate against our Singaporeans.

7. In addition, the trade unions should mobilise their members to whistleblow and report suspect cases of discrimination.

We have yet to receive affirmation from the Government that it is aligned with the concerns MPs Patrick Tay and Saktiandi Suppat have broached about widespread discriminatory practices, lack of skills transfer and localization and the need to increase power of TAFEP through legislation.

Have the winds of change begun to blow or are these recent statements just paying lip service to the concerns of the people? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we will continue to push the government in that direction.

Nevertheless, it is heartening to note that Minister Tan See Leng, the new Manpower Minister, who has in-depth experience from the private sector, has appointed a Tripartite Committee to review all options to tackle workplace discrimination including the legislation of anti-discrimination laws. Up till now, employers who unfairly hire foreigners over Singaporeans are subject only to administrative penalties.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 setback, this is also a timely opportunity to introducing a rebalancing as the number of foreign PMETs has reduced and we can take the time to manage the renewal and new-issue of visas.

Should the Government choose to act in the direction of change for the better, there is much common ground with the PSP as we enter into the PSP Jobs Debate in the near future. The PSP sincerely hopes that the Debate will yield concrete policy recommendations to rebalance the job market in favour of Singaporeans.


*Facebook post by NCMP Leong Mun Wai.




20 Responses to “Are the Winds of Change Blowing or is it just Lip Service?”

  • Grade F PAP:

    If you would notice PSP + WP presence in Parliament asking more relevant questions has made the change felt. If you don’t notice you must be blind and hopeless. It only proved one think – absolute power corrupt absolutely. Time for Sinkies to wake up from their slumbers. PAP under mia hum is not the PAP under LKY. And looking at the F standards of the 4G, it will be worse.

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  • Surely CECA will be modified:

    I Read Pink man as follows, nakedly:

    1. They will defend with all their might against any criticisms.

    2. They are unlikely to admit mistakes even if they do tweaks and U-turn. Reason is Self Interest.

    Actually, if the People scream at them loudly, they will cow. But to avoid being seen their weakness, they put up a brave fierce front hoping to deter.

    I believe kachua will be tweaked since even an idiot by now knows what a fk up it has been. Thanks to joker.

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  • ah chik:

    Btw,do THESE HIGHLY PAID SG-PMEs vote against their own interests by voting PAP n its policies?

    If so,let them be?

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  • ah chik:

    Even layman or,rather,lay-WOMAN’S SALARY IS STATE SECRET?
    Even no need to give account of $100 Billion raided from SGS’ RESERVES after EASY NO FRILLS’ KIND OF PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE’S APPROVAL.




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  • useless pap paper generals:

    it is our firm believe that Mr Leong Mun Wai and Ms Hazel Poa, besides many others in PSP WP, shall form a far better government for 61% cotton sheep and 39% true blue Singaporeans.

    1, these very capable fellow Singaporeans, none from pap, care deeply for Singaporeans, whether 39% or 61%, speaking for all.

    2, these PSP WP folks dare to do the impossible which is to speak up against the clan of pap thieves.

    3, most important of all, Singapore as a small island is due for improvement, after some years of pap abuse.

    Let us citizens of Singapore unite and vote into government a new and far better group of Singaporeans to right all the wrongs under pap. there is NO other way. pap must go.

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  • Asd:

    I think “believe that foreigners in a hiring position are more inclined to hire and promote people of their own nationality” is infact racist hiring and garbagement seems to be alright with it for years snd years until recently

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  • House of laughing hyenas:

    PSP while not yet perfect, haa performed aa what we expect of a True Opposition party despite not the largest Opposition.

    WP has as usual underperformed but saved by their diehard fans. Its loke team B. LO has been overpaid without deliverying extra . Pritam basically performed same as before his extra wealth given to him by ….

    I think WP believes firmly that for a sg population, thia style of team B -like poature is whats acceptable to their fan base. Singaporeans are basically subacribers to not democracy but autocractic democracy.

    NIMBY : as long as they have not suffered from the regime they dont care about the society.

    Last but not least, by Darwinism, the Wiser CANNOT BE THE MAJORITY. Democracy is not possible unless the majority are wise enough. They are controlled by their minds thinking that democracy is for fools and selfishness is all that matters. They dont care about social injustice. Hdb neighbors are cold to each other proving the point of lost kampung spirit

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  • Tips for PSP:

    PSP is the most Realistic Opposition we have seen since JBJ.

    Its less confrontational than JBJ, more like Chiam and has more oomph than WP.

    To WIN, PSP should do a quick research into the concept called LIMITED IDENTITY which explains all forms of human weakness and misery. From it, we can understand why Dictatorship or Autocratic democracies can eventually fail. It explains the mechanics of Bigotry and why some people are like that. It explains Discrimination, Elitism , caste system, “if you are not with us, you are against us”, intolerance, racism, terrorism etc. All you ever need to understand to understand all the bad side of humanity. I wont use the word Evil out of being politically correct.

    Key words for your research :
    Limited Identity , Sadhguru, world is one, string theory.

    Remember, the World Is One.

    Namaskaram! ( i am not indian btw)

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  • opposition dude:

    We all can see that PAP has really F’ed it up big time this time. It’s always the same old tired tactic of talking, forming a COI and then saying something will be done. Well, this silly trick has long backfired (witness last year’s election for proof) but PAP persists in using it ha ha ha.

    You don’t need wayang statements about how FTAs benefit the country or that Indian nationals have been freely let in, your eyes tell you all you need to know. PAP will say that indian nationals aren’t given a free pass in but if it isn’t then why are there so many of them on the island? Or do they mean to say that these people aren’t given a free pass ACCORDING TO PAP’S SILLY CRITERIA OF PERHAPS 50 MILLION PEOPLE BEFORE SAYING THAT YES THEY ARE GIVEN A FREE PASS? Is that it?

    So no amount of explanations can change the perception of the smart ones. PAP these days aren’t too bright themselves either with all the silly stuff they have done which makes you go HAR???? when you read it.

    Even before PSP got into parliament we already knew there were far too many non locals around when there was much unhappiness in 2011 over them. And the population was just a “MERE” 5.11 million back then mind you.

    So just keep asking the tough questions PSP, we all have eyes and ears to judge for ourselves. When even simple questions of asking for the numbers aren’t even answered you know that PAP know that they have screwed up big time but have to put up a good show to fool people.

    Unfortunately for PAP, the number of people who can think are a lot more than PAP are comfortable with.

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  • Harder Truths:

    Please do not believe anything about regime wayang. Like crocodile tears but still collect million dollar salary. Nothing changes. $G born still jobless. ACTION NOT WORDS.

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  • Blame It On Woody Goh:

    Woody started the ball rolling by allowing Indians from India to come in and worked in Singapore. Then LHL allowed the Ministers to go on Auto Pilot and even if they made a fatal mistake, nothing is done to sack them.

    To win their support LHL increased their salary to million dollars so that all of them will not disagree and complain about him.

    This is what we get when the leaders are farked up men.

    Its time to sack all these useless men. Stop voting for the PAP in the next GE.

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  • Trust only myself:

    Those who let in the FTs by the hundreds of thousands will not change……just wait and see.

    Mr Leong did outstanding job asking questions so far……….keep it up.

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  • leeconyou:

    is wp and psp cannot work together in parliament, then no hope for opposition to be a force for singapore….

    opposition leader now got post and paid more, like a sterilized puppy dun even wanna bark and now wagging its tail to its new pappies master he just wanna protect ceca? just hope jamus dun end up like chen sow mao and daniel goh

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  • @Tips for PSP

    I am in total agreement, just look at WP in Parliament, for show put up some irrelevant questions and wagging tails, complete no show to talk about.

    But then we really cannot expect anything from a PAP Team B that is contended to just be in Parliament and co-drivers.

    PSP on the other hand, has proven that it is a party that is not afraid to take on the powers that be and ask hard questions, certainly a party to watch come next GE, if Sinkieland has not been destroyed by the incumbent and is still around by then.

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  • ah chik:

    @TRE Techie

    Thumbs up for PSP.
    And,waiting for SDP N PSP to fight together.

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  • Observer:

    Hope the elite in America can support pro-Israel Singaporeans to be leaders of MNCs.

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  • The peeps not worth fighting f:

    Democracy does not work in SG becos the Asians subscribe to autocracy more than democracy. Democracy has a weakness. It depends on the majority having the Brains to wise up in time.

    Despite covid the perfect storm, the peeps mostly are still sheeps.

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  • Fools never learn:

    Lying bastards never change
    Traitors always r traitors.
    Greeds invariably corrupts; the more they gey , the more corrupt; the more they corrupt the more they need to make corruption legitimate.
    The more they lie, the more they talk good, the more they hope to fool.

    That’s why they need to have bootlickers, brownosers n cootlickers new on post lky market
    The more there r bootlickerss spreading over all profession the more blatant they r to shit omn the laws n dictionary.
    The morr there are high society scums the more they think loves r cheap n can be wasted with sweet talk

    Needs to say more but needs really r necessary to see more to think more n to learn how to see yruth from fake
    Th start with, pofma reverts truth to fakes n fakes to trut. It has been since the day Lee Siew Chor walked out en mass from Parlia n opportunists grabed, lied n conned and still doing so with greater intensity.
    Covid levels but mislaunched as usual killing off those needed to be saved. So fire, winds n water assists. Still misaimed.
    B*$t**d$ rejoice. Shits shit more.

    Ha ha ha thry rape they become more assured n more arrogant.
    The conned remain shut in by the stench the shits BUT ….
    No buts to the bastards but BUT still prevails like Korea zpark, English Crom, German Hitler, US Trump, Pinay Marcos … So the talk the lame inherits the world. Save sinners. Lay down sword. N then Hell fire on thosevsaved but remain bastards, those laid down the sword but still kill n xxxlxplicking, xxxxnosing simultaneously.

    Naive no more.Buddha, Karl woke so must u. No problem. No lee nepotic shits, no trumpic scums, no johnson biden, morrison morons. Just thinking populace!

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  • MOM Change lah:

    MOM should start tightening all the EP especially renewal.
    Make sure it is real FT talent and that no Singaporean can do such job at that salary.Make them publish the job for Singaporean 3 months with the salary first before doing any such renewal.
    Understand some nursing FT staff are paid $7.5K on EP here when such job can be done by Singaporean if the employer really willing to pay local nurse at that rate.
    MOM need to do more…make sure the FTs EP scheme are not abused.
    Check if the FTs are related in the same company.

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  • 食屎仔:


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