MOM’s Reply Regarding PME Job Creation: Red Herring Or Inconvenient Truth?

On 7 March during the session on Committee of Supply (COS) for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), all I wanted to ask the Manpower Minister was, “What is the actual number of PME jobs created for Singaporeans from 2005 to 2020?”.

The Government had previously declared that 380,000 PME jobs were “created” for locals during that period, hence Singaporeans should have benefited from it. However, there were 635,000 PRs added to the “locals” number during the same period. Hence many of these 380,000 jobs increase are not “real” but due to the change in composition of the “locals” statistic between 2005 and 2020. So what is the actual number of PME jobs created for Singaporeans?

Instead of getting a reply, my question was characterized as a red herring and I was accused of undermining the cohesiveness of our society. This is a serious accusation that I must rebut but was not given a chance because of the cutoff time.

The Minister’s broad response that “majority of the local PME growth over the ‘last decade’ went to Singaporeans born in Singapore” does not provide clarity to the issue at hand. It is baffling as to why the exact figure over the last fifteen years cannot be shared when it is available.

Already there are lots of speculation in the social media on what is the number of Singaporean PMEs who have benefited from this large increase of new job. It is a natural reaction and it is important to be transparent to dispel any misconception. So, far from being a red herring and certainly not an act to undermine cohesiveness, the question is valid and fair.

I am asking for the number of “original Singaporeans at the start of the statistical period” as a good practice of record keeping and not trying to differentiate between the old and new citizens. The Minister has misunderstood me. The issue is also not whether they are born in Singapore or not. There is only one category of citizens – Singaporeans!

Our people deserve to know the answer. Knowing it does not make us a less cohesive society.

Singaporeans deserve better!

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