Home News MOM accuses Dr Chee of being an alarmist, really?

MOM accuses Dr Chee of being an alarmist, really?

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By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond
The Manpower Ministry has accused Dr Chee of painting “an alarmist picture of the job market for Singaporeans” at an SDP rally held on Tuesday (3 May).
SDP chief Chee Soon Juan misunderstood the employment data he cited at his party’s night rally, MOM said (http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/mom-chee-misunderstood-employment-data).
Dr Chee had said that the Government only created 100 jobs for the locals in 2015.
MOM said that the increase mentioned by Dr Chee is not the total number of new jobs taken up by locals last year. The increase is actually the difference between the total number of locals taking up and leaving jobs, for example due to retirement. That is to say, the difference is the “net” number of new jobs taken by locals.
And that net number was 700 last year, MOM said. In January, MOM’s initial estimates showed this net number of new jobs taken by locals went up by 100 at end-2015 compared to a year ago. The figure was later updated to 700.
“Despite the slowdown in net local employment growth, most Singaporeans looking for jobs are able to find one,” said MOM.
MOM also added that it is stepping up efforts in industry transformation to help create not just more jobs but also better-quality jobs for Singaporeans.
MOM did not disclose steep fall in net figure
In its statement to refute Dr Chee, however, MOM did not mention that in fact, this net number of new jobs taken by locals plunged heavily last year.
The followings are taken from a MOM’s report in March (http://www.gov.sg/~/sgpcmedia/media_releases/mom/press_release/P-20160315-1/attachment/Statement%20on%20Labour%20Market%20Developments%20(Mar%202016).pdf):
graph
It its report, rather than using the words “plunged heavily”, MOM preferred the words “moderated significantly” in its description of the graph.
It wrote, “Similarly, local employment growth (net increase of 700 or 0%) moderated significantly after exceptionally high growth in 2013 and 2014 (96,000 or 4.4% in 2014, 82,900 or 4.0% in 2013; see Figure 1). The moderation reflected a confluence of structural and cyclical factors.”
It reported that local employment has declined in Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Real Estate Services and Retail Trade, with a slowdown in the increase in new retail space available in 2015 and a decline in retail sales volume.

Retrenched Singaporean PMETs having hard time finding work

Meanwhile, it has been reported that highly trained middle-aged Singaporeans who have been retrenched, couldn’t find similar jobs back in their industry (https://theindependent.sg.sg/finance-expat-lady-living-a-good-life-in-singapore).
Mr Desmond Tan was once the head of Asia sales in one of the largest European banks. After he was forced to quit, he couldn’t find any other jobs back in the finance industry. He was turned away from jobs by bank after bank. Now he has to settle for commissions of about $3,000 as a property agent.
Another highly qualified retrenched person is Mr Long Khin Keong. He was a former general manager in the oil and gas industry, drawing a salary of about $15,000 a month. These days, Mr Long drives a taxi earning less than $2,000 a month. He was forced to drive a cab after struggling to find a suitable job for 6 years.
“I’m not asking to become a GM again, I just want to be somewhere I can contribute with my experience,” he told the reporter.
People like Mr Tan and Mr Long are certainly considered fully employed in MOM’s data.
However, it’s not known if MOM would consider becoming a property agent or driving a taxi as “better-quality jobs for Singaporeans”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is what Chee Soon Juan himself said on the topic at his rally on 5 May 2016:
“This morning the Ministry of Manpower took issue with me, saying that the number of jobs created for locals was not 100 as I pointed out. Instead it is 700. But 100 was the figure Mr Lim Swee Say, the Minister for Manpower, used. If the Ministry and the Minister can’t get its act together, don’t blame me.
So the figure is now 700 and not 100 jobs. Really? 700 and you want to make an issue of it? Let me put it into perspective for you how many jobs is 700. In 2014, the number of jobs for locals grew by 96,000. In 2015, it grew by only 700 – a plunge of 99 percent.
A 99 percent plunge and you want to quibble with me that it is 700 and not 100? Should we all heave a sigh of relief and celebrate?
You take a piece of rotten meat and you marinade with soy sauce and garlic and sambal balachan, its still a piece of rotten meat. Now stop trying to spin the news to make yourselves look good and start helping the people.”

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