Home News SG Politics Former SDP candidate to PAP’s Edward Chia, “You can still be profitable…while...

Former SDP candidate to PAP’s Edward Chia, “You can still be profitable…while paying your employees $1300/month”

Min Cheong, who ran against Mr Chia at Holland Bukit Timah GRC in July’s General Election, wrote a Facebook post lambasting the PAP MP

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Singapore—At one point in the debate in Parliament last week concerning the minimum wage, MP Edward Chia (PAP-Holland Bukit Timah GRC) asked the Workers’ Party Members of Parliament if they realized the possibility that lower-wage earners could lose employment as businesses adapt more and there are more technological advances such as automation.

Mr Pritam Singh, the WP head and Leader of the Opposition, answered that the WP MPs had not brought up the issue of automation at all, and then asked Mr Chia in turn if he is willing to pay S$1,300 monthly to the 32,000 lower wage earners in Singapore.

Mr Chia basically replied in the negative, saying that a business owner is answerable to the whole company and not to a particular type of employee and that a business should be profitable and scalable.

Mr Chia owns Timbre, a food-and-beverage chain.

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On October 15, Twitter user buat demokrasi (@KumarrNotCow) wrote a thread regarding the minimum wage issue that had been debated in Parliament.

In one tweet @KumarrNotCow wrote, “2/ The leader of the opposition (LO) asked PAP MP cum-Timbre owner if he is willing to pay his full-time employees at least $1300.”

Followed by this: “3/ PAP MP-Timbre owner’s answer was basically no- he would not pay his workers at least $1300. His responsibility as a business owner is to the whole company and not to any specific group of employees. It must be profitable and scalable.”

And this: “4/ In other words, this business owner MP is saying that he has no qualms about his profit model relying on full-time workers being paid less than $1300 a month.”

Posting screenshots of these tweets, Singapore Democratic Party’s Min Cheong, who ran against Mr Chia at Holland Bukit Timah GRC in July’s General Election, wrote a Facebook post lambasting the PAP MP.

“Eh bro, you do realise you can still be profitable and scale while paying your employees at least $1300/month. And if you can’t, your business model is likely a pretty shi*** one in the first place. Plus, you’ll eventually lose out precisely because you’re not taking proper care of your employees. Productivity, innovation, and loyalty – all essential to sustainable organisational growth – are enhanced by healthy working conditions. Boy bye.”

My GRC team competed against that of which this fella was a part of in GE2020. Eh bro, you do realise you can still be…

Posted by Min Cheong on Friday, October 16, 2020

According to the SDP website, Ms Min is “a seasoned writer and marketing communications professional with years of experience with multinational corporations, start-ups, and non-profit organisations across the consumer technology​, telecommunications, and education sectors.

The minimum wage issue has been a talking point of late in Parliament, starting with Mr Pritam saying in a social media post last week that a universal minimum wage of S$1,300 is a “moral imperative”.

The topic was hotly debated in Parliament on Oct 15, with Senior Minister of State for Health and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Dr Koh Poh Koon, advocating for the Progressive Wage Model, which is based on the consensus of the tripartite alliance, instead of the minimum wage.

Dr Koh was answered by Mr Pritam and fellow WP MP Jamus Lim, an Associate Professor in Economics. Mr Lim pointed to studies showing that the minimum wage does not bring about an appreciable increase in joblessness, and as for Mr Pritam, when it was said that the country has 32,000 full-time workers who take home less than $1,300 monthly, the LO said, “I don’t think it is acceptable that any Singaporean is earning below this number.” —/TISG

Read also: Pritam Singh: It’s not acceptable that any Singaporean earn less than S$1,300

Pritam Singh: It’s not acceptable that any Singaporean earn less than S$1,300

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