I refer to the article “‘Encouraging’ response to scheme for SMEs to cut foreign manpower reliance: MOM” (Nov 3, Channel NewsAsia).

It states that “More than 1,400 firms from sectors like food services, retail, construction and manufacturing have benefited from a Government programme meant to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reduce their reliance on foreign manpower, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said on Thursday (Nov 3).

This update comes a year after the Lean Enterprise Development (LED) programme was introduced in October 2015.

“Constructive and encouraging” response

Speaking to about 600 employers at the inaugural LED symposium on Thursday, Mr Lim said the responses from SMEs in the past year have been “constructive and encouraging”.

“While strengthening the Singaporean core”

“MOM will continue to work with the various LED taskforce agencies to help SMEs accelerate the transformation and growth of SMEs to be manpower lean and competitive while strengthening the Singaporean core,””

500 local jobs vs 49,000 foreign jobs?

If the response to the scheme has been “encouraging” and also “while strengthening the Singaporean core” – why is it that in the last 18 months from January 2015 to June 2016 – employment change was 49,000 foreign jobs against only 500 jobs for locals?

Negative employment change for locals for 21 months already?

Also, since in the third quarter of 2016, employment change contracted by -3,300 – does it mean now that the employment change for locals for the last 21 months to September 2016 has turned negative?

If so, what is the negative employment change for Singaporeans?

Leong Sze Hian

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