SINGAPORE: In June, it was announced that the much beloved Singapore Turf Club is scheduled for closure. Workers’ Party MP Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) has since expressed concern in Parliament over the club’s staff and trainers.
The final race at the Turf Club will be on October 5, 2024, which will be the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup. The 120 hectares of land in Kranji will be handed over to the Government by March 2027 for its redevelopment, as confirmed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Development. The land has been under STC since 1999.
“I am concerned about the staff and trainers who currently work for horse owners, and the athletes and other stakeholders in the equestrian sports community in view of this impending closure,” wrote Mr Giam.
On July 3, he raised the following questions:
First, I asked the Minister for Finance how staff and trainers will be supported in re-training for other jobs.
Second, I asked whether the development of equestrian sports will be impacted and what assistance the government is extending to athletes and other stakeholders in the equestrian sports community.
And third, I asked if Singapore Turf Club employees, contractors and members of the public were consulted on these changes.
In her answer to Mr Giam and the other MPs who raised questions about the impending closure of the club, Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah wrote that around 350 employees would be affected.
She added that they will be employed “for at least the next 15 months up till October 2024, with some staying until closure in 2027.”
The employees will be getting retrenchment packages in line with guidelines from the Minister of Manpower (MOM), as well as job placement assistance, career guidance, skills training, and counselling in an effort to help them transition to new employment.
“The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has also stepped in to offer support,” she said.
“The horse trainers employ or engage about another 420 workers. While these are not STC employees, STC will nevertheless lean forward to work with their employers, the trainers, to provide support to these workers and ease their transition. The media had recently reported that some equestrian entities are prepared to offer them jobs. STC will also be extending employment facilitation, skills training, and career counselling,” added Ms Rajah. /TISG