Helping Singaporeans: PSP Proposes a Simple Approach, No Need for Many Complicated Schemes

In the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Manpower today, the office bearers shared an impressive myriad of schemes that they have undertaken to help the workers in our economy. I counted about ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฌ ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜€, and we should appreciate the hard work that our civil servants are putting in.

However, it begs the question: why so many schemes are needed? I have stated in my Feb 25 speech that these โ€œ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—บ, ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฐ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒโ€ relief measures are very confusing for Singaporeans and will not allow them to plan for their future as independent and resilient individuals.

I have recommended a blanket ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ of $1500 take-home pay as the ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—บ level of compensation for local workers, which works out to a gross pay of $๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฑ per month. So, the annual package (incl. of one-month AWS) will be $๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฒ,๐Ÿณ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฑ. This is such an easy-to-understand approach for the workers.

MOM in Parliament has provided a chart that purports to be the annual package of a landscape worker. The breakdown is as follows:

Annual base income ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ•,๐Ÿ’๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ

Special Employment Credit 1,000

Annual PWM Bonus 670

Workfare Income Supplement 3,100

Workfare Special Payment 3,000

Chas Subsidies 320

Care & Support Package 1,300

U-Save and GST Vouchers 780

Total package $๐Ÿ๐Ÿ•,๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ•๐ŸŽ

The result is about the same – $26,715 vs $27,570 โ€“ but the Government has to do it with ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป schemes which I am sure the workers have no idea what or why they are getting. Does the Governmentโ€™s way encourage the work ethic and boost self-esteem better than a simple to understand living wage? You canโ€™t help but wonder if the Government just wants to create additional work for itself.

I asked Minister Josephine Teo whether Singaporean workers were disadvantaged under the current MOM employment policies because:

๐—ฎ. Foreign workers don’t have to contribute to CPF and therefore enjoy a ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ versus Singaporean workers (hence why I recommended the $1200 levy on EP holders).

๐—ฏ. There is ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฎ for EP holders.

๐—ฐ. There are ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐˜€๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ or succession planning schemes to ensure that Singaporeans can eventually take over from their foreign counterparts.

In response, she said Singaporean workers were ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™™๐™ซ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™œ๐™š๐™™ as evidenced during the Covid-19 economic downturn when 185,000 foreign workers lost their jobs while Singaporean workers have a net gain in jobs (mostly trainees).

I leave it to you to judge whether she has justified her point below:

One point we are sure of is that the pressure on Singaporean workers will continue for now.

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