Minister Lim showcases Ramky for not relying on FTs but it continues to hire FTs

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picture credit: MOM's FB

By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond

Last week, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say specially showcase Ramky Cleantech Services in a public seminar, “SMART TECH @MBS – Ramky’s Learning Journey”, at Marina Bay Sands.

Minister Lim was using Ramky to illustrate the importance for Singapore to be manpower-lean and not to rely on foreign workers.

He said there will be a shortage of local manpower in time to come (http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/speeches/2016/0426-speech-by-minister-lim-at-smart-tech-at-marina-bay-sands).

“This is a real challenge – local workforce decreases and at the same time, demand increases. Concurrently, we are determined not to rely on foreign workers. The only way is to be manpower-lean – improve the quality so we can no longer depend on the quantity of jobs to drive the economy,” he said. “Instead, enhance the quality of jobs to drive the growth of the economy in the future.”

He then went on to boast that government agencies like SPRING, WDA, e2i and STB have helped over 600 companies to change their business processes or redesign jobs to be more manpower-lean or attractive to Singaporeans, so as to rely less on foreign workers.

MOM then specially highlighted Ramky, a company presumably it has helped to become manpower-lean. It quoted a Ramky’s worker, Mr Dahari bin Mohd, saying, “I have been working with Ramky for 4 years. With the use of this technology, it helps me to do work faster. As it requires less manpower, my job is less tedious. It’s good because I can do many things at one time. The machine can start moving while I clean other things.”

(https://m.facebook.com/sgministryofmanpower/photos/ms.c.eJw1yMkNACAQAsCODLAX9t~_YidF5DoE0rGhFkVi8MWNt0NIPxw3OC1O72ll5AMXrDW4~-.bps.a.1004807289568538.1073741935.103944372988172/1004808129568454/?type=3)

Ramky recruiting workers from Malaysia

Ramky Cleantech Services in fact, does more than just providing cleaning services. It also provides car park management and traffic enforcement services like providing traffic wardens to enforce traffic rules and regulations (http://www.ramky.com.sg/index.php/services/car-park-solutions). On its website, it said:
1
It has been found that while the government is helping Ramky to become manpower-lean so as not to “rely on foreign workers”, as mentioned by Minister Lim in his speech, Ramky has been putting up advertisements in Malaysian job portals, presumably to hire Malaysian workers as its traffic wardens (http://jobless.com.my/full-time/traffic-warden_i18972):
2The website, jobless.com.my, is owned by Khan Ventures Sdn Bhd. Its website title said, “Part Time and Freelance Jobs in Malaysia”, clearly meant for Malaysian job seekers.

On the advertisement page, it listed a “Francis Ong” as the contact person. Indeed, a search in LinkedIn shows that Francis Ong is a recruitment executive at Ramky (https://sg.linkedin.com/in/francis-ong-8b7386116):
3Ramky won LTA tender with lowest bid

Further checks show that Ramky indeed, started providing traffic enforcement services after winning the LTA tender with the lowest bid in 2013 (http://www.lta.gov.sg/apps/tender/default.aspx?scr=yes&scrdate=3&fromdate=01/08/2013&todate=25/09/2013&pgno=3). It won the tender with a bid of S$3.6 million. The highest bid put up was S$6.6 million.

Naturally, to remain profitable in providing the traffic enforcement services, Ramky will have to find ways to keep its cost low and one of the ways most businessmen like to do would be to hire cheaper foreign workers.

Some netizens have expressed reservations with regard to the government outsourcing its traffic enforcement function to a third party.

A blogger wrote (https://everythingalsocomplain.com/2015/11/29/lta-enforcement-officer-arrested-for-affray), “Some drivers have complained that the real cops can be in fact more LENIENT than outsourced wardens when it comes to parking violations. The latter deemed to be inflexible and very ‘rigid’. One warden actually BOOKED A DAMN POLICE CAR in what was referred to as the ‘summons of the year’.”

He added, “One possible reason for this overzealousness, as a ST forum writer suggested in 2006, was that ‘external companies are driven by profits which are invariably tied to the amount of fines collected’. In order to prove to LTA that you’re well worth the money, you probably need to set a certain summons quota as an indicator of your performance. As an individual employee, that translates to incentives and promotions.”

And commenting on a fight which broke out between an Uber driver and a Ramky’s traffic warden last year, the blogger commented, “But one does wonder if scrappy fights can be avoided if the duty was carried out by the TP (Traffic Police) rather than employees of companies that also specialise in toilet cleaning. In the case of this LTA vs Uber scuffle, the shit just hit the fan.”

Ramky owned by Indian Group

On its website, it said that Ramky Cleantech Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ramky Group – a leading multi-discplinary regional infrastructure development and environmental management solution provider in India.

Its Chairman is Mr Alla Ayodhya Rami Reddy, founder of Ramky Infrastructure Limited which is public listed in India (http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=30292760&privcapId=23318174).

The Managing Director of Ramky is Mr Milton Ng (http://www.ramky.com.sg/index.php/about-us/management/119-mr-milton-ng). Mr Ng himself is a busy man and he also sits on the various government boards and committees (http://www.cleanenvirosummit.sg/programme/clean-environment-convention/speakers/mr-milton-ng):

1. President of the Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS)
2. Chairman of Cleaning Industry Expert Panel – National Environment Agency
3. Deputy Chairman of Cleaning Sectoral Tripartite Committee – National Environment Agency
4. Member of Tripartite Committee For Low Wage Workers and Inclusive Growth – Ministry of Manpower
5. Member of The Mature Workers Sub-committee Under Tripartite Oversight Committee On Workplace Health – Ministry Of Health
6. Member of the Tripartite Advisory Group For Cleaners
7. Member of the Public Hygiene Council (PHC)

NTUC even gave him a Medal of Commendation. This was what NTUC said about him (http://www.ntuc.org.sg/wps/wcm/connect/2c896be6-7d88-4536-9eed-db2ee707fe9a/Citations2015+p84_127+Part+2.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=2c896be6-7d88-4536-9eed-db2ee707fe9a):

“In general, Brother Milton has worked closely together to achieve the Labour Movement’s goal of better jobs for all, in particular the cleaners… In recognition of his outstanding contributions, the National Trades Union Congress is pleased to present Brother Milton Ng with the Medal of Commendation Award.”

Still, Mr Ng feels that skill training should also be given to foreign workers and not just to Singaporeans. He wants foreign worker’s levy to be lowered.

He once said in an interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmB1_35e-xY), “Foreign workers are still the backbone of our environmental hygiene sector. To raise the professionalism of industry, all workers should be trained regardless of nationality.”

“EMAS’ recommendation to overcome this is by lowering foreign worker’s levy once they are trained and skilled. Companies will then invest in foreign workers training as the lower levy will assist in defraying training cost. Skilled foreign workers can also contribute to increasing productivity.”

In the case of traffic enforcement, it’s not known how a foreign worker can be trained to be a “skilled” traffic warden.