Josephine Teo Says MOM Will Better Ensure Locals Get Fair Treatment When Applying For Jobs

In a dire economical climate as now, job security is one of the most desperate concerns among Singaporeans.

Many are taking the government to task, demanding solutions on how locals can continue to defend their rice bowls despite a sizable foreign workforce in the country.

To this, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said her ministry will be stepping up efforts to ensure that Singaporeans are getting fair treatment in their job-seeking quests.

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We summarise what she said in Parliament today (1 Sep) about this.

MOM to ensure fair treatment by monitoring retrenchments

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Mrs Teo said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will continue to check whether a business has “kept up its support” of hiring local PMETs.

PMETs is a term often used to describe these 4 roles– professionals, managers, executives and technicians.

Mrs Teo said an important point of consideration is how a company retrenches its staff.

MOM will then look at whether a company is hiring an EP or S Pass applicant to replace a local who was recently retrenched.

If that’s the case, these applications will be declined unless there are valid reasons.

MOM will see if businesses tried hiring & training local PMETs

MOM will also see if businesses have actively tried to hire and equip local PMETs with the necessary skills through government agencies like:

  • Workforce Singapore (WSG)
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
  • Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

These agencies all have specialised programmes to help local PMETs upskill and reskill themselves.

No discrimination against local PMETs

When it comes to work pass applications, The Straits Times reports that the ministry would check whether an employer has shown bias against local PMETs who are just as qualified.

According to her, Singaporeans are most offended when this group of locals lose jobs to non-citizen candidates who “did not appear to be better”.

Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim then questioned Mrs Teo,

Is slowing the rate of EP and S Pass holders in Singapore sufficient to ensure local PMETs do not get displaced?

He pointed out that Singapore needs to be aware of the effect of diminishing returns on the issue.

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Government & citizens are aligned

In response, Mrs Teo said she is aware of “legitimate concerns” people have against Singapore’s “very sizable” foreign workforce.

But ultimately, Singaporeans have to be aware of both the opportunities and constraints our little red dot has as a “tiny city state”.

Mrs Teo stresses that Singaporeans have to ask themselves what it takes to help fellow citizens:

  • Stay in employment
  • Stay out of unemployment
  • Achieve income growth
  • Achieve retirement adequacy

MOM is actively looking for ways to achieve these outcomes for Singaporeans. Mrs Teo assures that the government is aligned with the citizens on this,

I don’t think the destination we want to head towards is a different one.

Local vs foreign jobs debate continues

It is evident that jobs continue to be a hot topic, especially so in trying times no thanks to the pandemic outbreak.

There is no definitive answer as to whether reducing growth of EP and S pass holders is the way to go.

But at the end of the day, we hope MOM lives up to its promise in fair treatment for local jobseekers, so that Singaporeans can continue earning an honest living.

Also read:

MOM Puts 47 Employers On Watchlist For Alleged Discriminatory Hiring

Featured image adapted from CNA on Facebook & Wikimedia Commons.