Makansutra founder and advocate for everything hawker, KF Seetoh, took to social media criticizing People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP) Edward Chia for his comments on minimum wage despite being a business owner.
Mr Chia is the business owner of food-and-beverage chain Timbre.
During a debate against Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, Mr Edward Chia, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, asked the Workers’ Party (WP) MPs if they recognise that there is a possibility low-wage workers may lose their jobs with technology being increasingly adopted by businesses.
Mr Pritam said that none of the WP MPs made any remark about automation and in turn asked whether Mr Chia is willing to pay the 32,000 low-wage workers S$1,300 a month.
Mr Chia, who is the managing director for F&B company Timbre Group, jumped in to say that businesses need to stay competitive, and to do so, it has to be coupled with an increase in productivity.
Mr Pritam then asked: “I would like to ask the member in return, is he agreeable to pay the … 32,000 workers S$1,300 as a business employer. Is he prepared to do that? I hope he is.”
Mr Chia replied that a business owner’s responsibilities are to his entire company and not to the employees of a specific sector. That would include finding ways to be sustainable and to expand to provide more jobs for Singaporeans.
“A minimum wage may be more negative for a business. We need to look at it as a holistic approach, helping businesses upskill their employees, helping businesses grow their business,” he said.
If you cannot afford to pay $1,300 minimum flat out wage, please, I implore you, Don't Be An Entrepreneur. It's cruel to…
In his Facebook post on Tuesday (Oct 20), Mr Seetoh wrote: “It’s cruel to pay a Singaporean $1,300 a mth in this most expensive city in the world era and expect them to be proud of it. Even my part timers earn more”.
He said: “If you cannot afford to pay $1,300 minimum flat out wage, please, I implore you, Don’t Be An Entrepreneur”.
“I applaud the unions who have been so hard at work fighting for better wages all these years, and the steel industry workers are now getting basics of over $1,800. But I am also sure, soon, there will be a line of Singaporeans waiting to be unionised steel workers with those wages”, Mr Seetoh wrote.
“Dare i think and imagine what knowledge we need to acquire to land those E Pass $4,500 and umpteen thousand dollar jobs we are so eager to lure and give to talented foreigners”, he added.
Updating his post in the comments section later in the day, Mr Seetoh wrote: “So now MP Edward Chia texted to say he actually pay’s them $2000 up plus insurance. But, i still dun get what he said or implied in parliament”. /TISG