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Govt plans to depend less on migrant workers after COVID-19 pandemic: Indranee Rajah

"But this has to be done in stages with caution because we can not just take out all the manual power all of a sudden," said the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office

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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Indranee Rajah, has said that the Government plans to find ways to depend less on migrant workers and accelerate automation in the post-COVID Singapore economy.

Speaking to the press on Monday (1 June), the Tanjong Pagar GRC MP said, “It should be less and less repetitive manual operation and those should be replaced by automation, and the local population can do more on higher value-added activities.”

She added: “But this has to be done in stages with caution because we can not just take out all the manual power all of a sudden.”

Singapore’s migrant manpower has been the focus of attention since over 90 per cent of the 35,292 confirmed COVID-positive patients in Singapore are migrant workers. The fast virus transmission rate among migrant workers was said to be caused by how overcrowded their living quarters are.

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The Government received criticism for not anticipating the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the dormitories given how overcrowded they have been for a long time.

This week, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced that Singapore will finally embark on a major overhaul of migrant worker housing and provide better living arrangements for migrant workers by the end of 2020.

Separately, Indranee Rajah said that Singapore will redesign its infrastructure system and invest in the clean energy, public health, information & communications technology sectors, while encouraging a “friendly regulatory environment” in her press briefing. She added that international financial sources remain eager to support clean energy projects.

Ms Rajah, who also serves as Second Minister for Finance, also provided more details on a training programme for senior and mid-level regional government officials involved in project preparation by the World Bank Group and Singapore Management University.

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