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NCMP Leong Mun Wai: Singaporean workers will stay under pressure

Unpredictable relief measures will not allow Singaporeans to plan for their future, he says

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Singapore — Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai from Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has one question: Why are so many schemes needed to help the workers in  Singapore?

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (March 3), he wrote:

“In the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Manpower today, the office bearers shared an impressive myriad of schemes that they have undertaken to help the workers in our economy. I counted about 30 schemes and we should appreciate the hard work that our civil servants are putting in.

“However, it begs the question: why so many schemes are needed? I have stated in my Feb 25 speech that these short term, ad hoc and unpredictable relief measures are very confusing for Singaporeans and will not allow them to plan for their future as independent and resilient individuals.

“I have recommended a blanket living wage of $1500 take-home pay as the  minimum level of compensation for local workers, which works out to a gross pay of S$2055 per month. So, the annual package (incl. of one-month AWS) will be S$26,715,” he wrote.

“MOM in Parliament has provided a chart that purports to be the annual package of a landscape worker,” he added, where the breakdown is as follows:

  • Annual base income: S$17,400
  • Special Employment Credit: S$1,000
  • Annual PWM Bonus: S$670
  • Workfare Income Supplement: S$3,100
  • Workfare Special Payment: S$3,000
  • Chas Subsidies: S$320
  • Care & Support Package: S$1,300
  • U-Save and GST Vouchers: S$780
  • Total package= $27,570
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“The result is about the same – $26,715 vs $27,570 – but the Government has to do it with seven schemes which I am sure the workers have no idea what or why they are getting,” he added. “Does the Government’s way encourage the work ethic and boost self-esteem better than a simple to understand living wage?”

He had asked Manpower Minister Josephine Teo if the local workforce was disadvantaged, pointing out foreign workers don’t have to contribute to CPF and therefore enjoy a wage advantage.

There is no quota for Employment Pass holders, he said.

Moreover, there are no skill transfer or succession planning schemes to ensure that Singaporeans can eventually take over from their foreign counterparts, he added.

But the minister replied, “Singaporean workers were not disadvantaged as evidenced during the Covid-19 economic downturn when 185,000 foreign workers lost their jobs while Singaporean workers have a net gain in jobs.”

Mr Leong, however, said it was “mostly trainees” who were hired.

He ended his post by saying, “One point we are sure of is that the pressure on Singaporean workers will continue for now.”

Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISGFollow us on Social Media

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