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Activist Gilbert Goh’s alternative May Day event

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Obbana Rajah

An alternative May Day event was held yesterday, that was organised by activist Gilbert Goh.

The event saw speakers such as entrepreneur Melvyn Tan, Mark, Serene Zhao, Joyce Poh, businessman Kumaran Pillai, ex CEO of NTUC Income Tan Kin Lian, Leong Sze Hian and lawyer and politician Lim Tean.

It was an indoor Labour Day event, with its topic as ‘Future of employment for Singaporeans’. As Gilbert Goh wrote in his Facebook post, this event was for the common-man, as “NTUC will organise it’s tripartite-alliance labour day event in a indoor venue for selected group of people to attend – unreachable by most ordinary people-in-the-street”.

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The main issues brought up were pertaining to unemployment of the elderly and youths, as well as salaries offered to Singaporean workers for skilled jobs.

Opposition politician Lim Tean raised salient points such as how the system of trickle-down economics, whereby aims are just for the wealthy to get wealthier, and how some of their money will trickle-down to the rest, is out dated and will no longer hold in today’s economy. He also spoke about how a tripartite economy and how the privatisation of public utilities such as SMRT are very much in line with neo-liberalism, and profits are what matters, as opposed to salaries and the welfare of people.

We spoke to former CEO of NTUC Income Tan Kin Lian, who said that Singaporeans need to be encouraged to take up public sector jobs that require skills – such as being a nurse or bus driver – as opposed to those that require degrees.

He said, “Among Singaporeans, there is a certain number who go for white-collar executive jobs. However, for the rest, salary will change their mind-sets. The key driving factor is the wages. If the wages are good enough, they will be encouraged to take up these jobs”.

He also added that job security is an imperative.

“People need to feel secure that they can get a job that pays enough to raise a family”, he said, speaking for the everyman.

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