Singapore — People’s Action Party MP Edward Chia (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) has drawn much criticism online after his company put up a job ad that offered starting pay of S$2,000 with insurance benefits.
This after Mr Chia, the business owner of food-and-beverage chain Timbre, had during the Progressive Wage Model-minimum wage debate in Parliament last Thursday (Oct 15) with Workers’ Party leader Pritam Singh indicated clearly that he was against a minimum wage of S$1,300.
A minimum wage has been the subject of much debate in the country since the WP featured it as one of the key policy proposals in its manifesto for this year’s General Election.
Mr Chia had asked WP MPs if they recognised that there was a possibility low-wage workers may lose their jobs with technology being increasingly adopted by businesses.
Mr Singh, who is Leader of the Opposition, said that none of the WP MPs had made any remark about automation and, in turn, asked whether Mr Chia was willing to pay the country’s 32,000 low-wage workers S$1,300 a month.
“Is he prepared to do that? I hope he is,” Mr Singh had said.
Mr Chia had 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.
He had said: “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.”
However, Timbre had a “We Are Hiring” ad only two days later in a Facebook post on Saturday (Oct 17). It said: “Calling out passionate Singaporeans and PRs who are looking to work in a dynamic environment. Various service & kitchen positions are available with starting pay of $2000 + insurance benefits.”
We Are Hiring!Calling out passionate Singaporeans and PRs who are looking to work in a dynamic environment. Various…
Many people online have taken issue with this, including street food guru KF Seetoh, multimedia reporter at The Drum media platform Shawn Lim and Ms Min Cheong, who was in the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) team that contested in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC in this year’s General Election.