5 Statements Made at Parliament that will Reassure S’poreans that 2020 will be Okay

I always like to see the first Parliament sitting of every year as very important – to set the tone for that year and chart out plans for Singapore. The first Parliament sitting of 2020 that happened on 6 January was exactly that.

You think they would have had a chance to recover from the year end and New Year festivities but nope: they kicked off Parliament tackling difficult topics ranging from PMD ban and POFMA to the US-China trade war and electoral boundaries. And of course one of the perennial favourites – the balance of foreign workers in Singapore.

If you missed it, Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing gave a response to queries from the floor. We picked out some of the most reassuring statements he made that #giveushope.

Have economic growth and job creation benefited Singaporeans? “Mr Deputy Speaker Sir, the short answer to both questions is a resounding yes.”

Minister Chan said this in response to Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa and Workers’ Party’s Pritam Singh’s questions on whether economic growth and job creation have benefited Singaporeans, and more so than foreigners.

“To fellow Singaporeans, I say this: We understand your worries, and we will walk this journey together with you. This Government will always have your backs.”

Minister Chan prefaced this with saying that there are Singaporeans who are concerned about the future, especially in times of economic uncertainties and went on to explain that this is why the Government heavily invests in SkillsFuture and programmes like Adapt & Grow and the Professional Conversion Programme.

“I believe the vast majority of companies know the deal. They play ball. They groom Singaporeans. “

He explains that MTI and the economic agencies will watch over the enterprises to get them to train and groom Singaporeans as part of their commitment to Singapore.

And it’s not JUST because the Government asks them to. But because it also makes business sense for them to localise.

If we look at it that way, it’s like giving companies a chance to prove their commitment. Well… we can always pull funding for companies if they prove not to be hiring and training Singaporeans. #givechancefirst

“The real competition is not between the Singaporean versus the permanent resident (PR) here versus the foreigner.”

To put things into perspective, he was quoted as saying that the real competition is Team Singapore (comprising Singaporeans + PRs + foreign workers) vs the rest of the world. And he’s pretty spot on.

Instead of focusing internally, Singaporeans need to be reminded that we are actually competing on a global stage and if working alongside foreigners help us get there faster – why the heck not. If it’s for a better Singapore for everyone and eventually Singaporeans are the ones to benefit – why the heck not?

“Create the jobs in Singapore first. Otherwise we lose the S$7,000 job now and we may never get the S$10,000.”

Minister Chan explained that the reality is that when global companies like Google, Grab, Facebook invest, we do not have enough Singaporeans with the relevant skills and experience to fill all the jobs they create.

So we grab the investment first while training Singaporeans to fill those roles in future. If we turn away the investment, there will be no $7,000 or even $10,000 job created and Singaporeans will remain at the $5,000 job with lesser opportunities to rise in the ranks.

So let us all work at it and continually upgrade so that one day, we’ll be in the $10,000 job.

In other words, are you joining Team Singapore?