By: Leong Sze Hian
I refer to the article “Parliament: MOM took action against about 50 firms for failing to give Singaporeans a fair chance when hiring” (Straits Times, Mar 7).
50 companies taken to task
It states that “Fifty companies that failed to give Singaporeans fair consideration when hiring have been taken to task, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Monday (March 6).
500 employment pass applications rejected
More than 500 Employment Pass applications from these employers have been rejected by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) or withdrawn by the companies, he said during the debate on his ministry’s budget.
These companies are among the uncooperative firms on the Fair Consideration Framework Watchlist, which keeps track of firms not doing enough to hire and groom Singaporeans. The framework was introduced in 2014.”
Missing National Jobs Bank statistics?
The most important statistics are arguably still missing – what percentage of the jobs listed in the National Jobs Bank went to Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners?
More companies discriminating?
With regard to “At the end of February this year, there were 250 companies – in industries ranging from information and communication technology to professional services – on the watchlist, up from 100 at the start” – does this not indicate that perhaps more employers (from 100 to 250) may not be hiring Singaporeans?
In respect of “The Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices guides those on the watchlist to improve their employment practices over a period of six months” – does it mean that employers may simply still give preference to hiring non-Singaporeans – and then if you are caught – then start to give preference to hiring Singaporeans and replace foreigners whose employment passes are not allowed to be renewed, as they come up for renewal, with Singaporeans?
In the meantime – how many of these foreigners have been reclassified as local workers with an average of about 20,000 new citizens and 30,000 new PRs granted annually?
Hired 800 more – 100,000 unemployed S’poreans?
As to “Collectively, these firms have hired 800 more Singaporean professionals, managers and executives since being placed on the watchlist. Those that continue to improve can be progressively removed from the list, he added” – this may be akin to just “a drop in the ocean” as I understand that the non-seasonally adjusted number of unemployed Singaporeans may now be about 100,000 with most of them being PMETs.