Singapore – The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has proposed a scheme to create jobs in a post-Covid environment, emphasising the need for Singapore to move away from a Government-dominated domestic economy.
On Friday (June 26), the SDP introduced the RESTART Co-op scheme, which is an extension of its proposal for a national unemployment benefits programme called RESTART (Re-Employment Scheme and Temporary Assistance for the ReTrenched).
Under this programme, all workers are given a chance to join an insurance scheme with employers and the Government. If they are retrenched, they will be entitled to an average of 50 per cent of their last drawn salary for 18 months, subject to a cap of the prevailing median wage.
It proposed that, if the retrenched worker can find nine other similarly retrenched workers and submit a viable business proposal, the group will be able to withdraw their unemployment payouts in one lump sum to use as capital to start a co-operative enterprise.
The initiative would include broad guidelines as to the types of business-cooperatives to be approved and an independent body to oversee the start-ups and prevent cases of abuse of the scheme.
The SDP got the idea from Italy’s Marcora Law, where redundant workers are permitted to use their accumulated unemployment benefits to capitalise a buyout co-operative.
The initiative, tweaked to the Singapore setting, aims to “help retrenched workers get back on their feet and also encourage entrepreneurship among Singaporeans”. It will also be a source of job creation if the businesses become successful and contribute to economic inclusivity and pluralism in Singapore’s market economy.
The SDP noted that Singapore is ranked highly in the Crony-Capitalism Index and that such a model was “unhealthy and unsustainable as clearly demonstrated in our productivity and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) numbers in recent years”.
The party firmly believes that, in a post-Covid era, Singapore must move away from a Government-dominated domestic economy and “embark on genuine restructuring of the economy where the private sector plays a major role, and the country develops a robust entrepreneurial culture”.
In its statement, the SDP shared its deep concern about the job situation in Singapore. Members of the public have expressed the same concern during the multiple digital outreaches held by the party. “We are also disappointed with the People’s Action Party’s proposed plans in this area which is more fluff than substance”. Through the RESTART Co-op scheme, jobs could be created while a path is opened for Singaporeans to become more enterprising and innovative.
At the moment, Singapore is ranked highly in the Crony-Capitalism Index. Such a model is unhealthy and unsustainable as…