To tackle rising unemployment, the Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say offered in Parliament on Monday to “transform the National Jobs Bank into a one-stop and non-stop online marketplace”.
How is this any comfort to Singaporeans when retrenchments continue unabated and job creation is anaemic? Already, job seekers outnumber job openings.
As of June, more than 60,000 Singaporeans remain unemployed – a jump from 50,000 in March. (This is an underestimation as many more Singaporeans have given up looking for jobs and are, therefore, not included in the unemployment roll.)
Such a scenario is especially troubling when you consider that in 2015 the total employment growth was 32,300 jobs. Of these, locals (including permanent residents) accounted for only 2% (700 jobs). The rest of the 98% (31,600 jobs) went to foreigners.
In fact, the growth in the number of jobs for locals had collapsed from 96,000 in 2014 to 700 in 2015. Yet, the PAP insists on bringing in more foreigners. The number who found jobs here – excluding foreign domestic workers – rose by 27,000 from June 2015 to June 2016.
To top it off, the government grants 15,000-20,000 new citizens every year.
All this has made Singaporean workers the unhappiest lot in Southeast Asia. It is no wonder that our economy is the only one in Asia that recorded a contraction in nominal GDP in the second quarter of this year.
It is plain that Singaporeans will be in for more pain under the PAP’s misguided policies. Worse, the party has not come up with any workable plans to create jobs for Singaporeans.
On the other hand, the SDP has drawn up a comprehensive set of policies to take our economy in a viable direction. Some of these include but are not limited to:
1. Scrapping Temasek Holdings and divesting GLCs. The productivity level of our workforce has been stagnant for years and GLCs have contributed majorly to this malaise as they dominate the domestic sector of our economy. In fact, Singapore’s corporate leaders are known to destroy rather than create value.
2. Implementing the Singaporeans First policy. Our immigration and labour policies should adopt a points-based system and take in only foreign workers that our businesses genuinely need. Employers must demonstrate that Singaporeans cannot fill job vacancies before they are allowed to hire foreigners.
3. Freeing up the political system. Every year, about 1,200 of our best and brightest renounce their Singapore citizenship, many of them citing the lack of democracy here as a reason for leaving. Thousands more prefer to live and work overseas as permanent residents. These are the very talent and innovative minds that we cannot afford to lose.