Singapore—Speaking at a bicentennial commemoration dinner organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore on Tuesday, December 3, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing encouraged businesses to develop their local workforce and at the same time prevent over-reliance on foreign workers from just one place.
Mr Chan emphasized the necessity of diversifying businesses’ foreign workforces as well as giving local workers chances to advance and upskill.
To an audience of more than 700 business leaders, government officials and diplomats, the Trade and Industry Minister said that while it may seem easier to recruit workers from a well-known source, “Businesses should also diversify your foreign workforce as an important step in managing your concentration risks… Diversification is an important part of business continuity, the Straits Times (ST) reports.
However, Mr Chan added that more efforts could be made in assisting foreign workers to adjust to life in the country, saying that “Businesses have an important part to play in continuing to engender the social acceptance necessary for our manpower needs to be met in a sustainable way.
As our multicultural social norms can be rather unfamiliar to foreign employees, it is important that we go beyond integrating them into our companies, but to also help them understand and connect with the broader society.”
Mr Chan’s message seemed to echo a recent call from Josephine Teo, the country’s Manpower Minister, who said that workplaces in Singapore and other countries are currently experiencing heightened sensitivity to fair treatment and for local customs to be observed, as fear of being overrun by outsiders has been felt by many.
What employers need to do to fight this, Ms Teo said, is to practice fair treatment and advancement.
Likewise, the Trade and Industry Minister said that business should commit to practices that are progressive and fair.
He talked about striking the right balance between protecting Singapore’s social fabric, while simultaneously opening its doors to people who contribute to the country’s good, no matter where they are from.
“While we may not have a sufficiently long shared history or common ancestry to define our national identity, we can instead take pride and believe that we can all have a forward-looking identity based on a set of common values,” he said.
Mr Chan also stressed the need to tread carefully as “the winds of globalisation weaken”.
He added, ”To create good jobs for Singaporeans, we will need to continue to diversify, stay open to trade and investments and play our part to uphold a rules-based and integrated global trading system.
Our interests are best served by remaining open to economic relations with all countries and not advocating for policies favouring any particular country.
Our value to the world is to be a principled partner to all, someone the rest of the world can trust because we mean what we say, and we say what we mean.”
According to the president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Roland Ng, the multicultural, multiracial, and multi-religious nature of Singapore is one of is strengths. The SCCI was established in 1906, and has over 160 trade association members and 5,000 corporate members. -/TISG
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