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PSP NCMPs to ask about CECA, Tech.Pass, foreign employees’ salaries and skills transfer

Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa Koon Koon to raise questions about employment of foreigners

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Singapore—Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa Koon Koon will be raising questions in the House about the employment of foreigners.

Mr Leong intends to ask Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a two-fold question regarding the Monetary Authority of Singapore:

  • “(a) whether MAS has any supervisory role overseeing the appointments of top leaders of local financial institutions and, if so, what is the extent of this role;
  • “and (b) whether MAS will intervene if such a position within a local financial institution has not been held by Singaporean citizens for an extended period of time.”

Mr Leong also intends to bring up CECA in Parliament.

CECA, or the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, is a free-trade pact which took effect in August 2005.

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Concerns have been raised that Indian nationals benefit unduly from CECA. The agreement has been reviewed three times. However, Mr Leong would like to know more about the ongoing review.

He will be asking Mr Chan Chun Sing, the Minister for Trade and Industry, “whether the Ministry intends to negotiate for better terms in the ongoing review of the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in light of the DBS group’s merger with Lakshmi Vilas Bank.”

DBS announced in November last year that it had completed its takeover of Laksmi Vilas Bank in India. The 94-year old Chennai-based private bank was folded into DBS’ Indian subsidiary at the request of the Reserve Bank of India which cited a serious deterioration in its finances, reported Reuters.

However, the bank merger is not the only question the NCMP has for Mr Chan.

He will also ask how the Tech.Pass differs from other available visa options, such as the EntrePass, for foreigners who would like to start their own firms, and if the overall number of available work passes will fall because of the Tech.Pass.

Finally, Mr Leong will ask whether the eligibility criteria for the pass are too lax.

He also has questions for  Manpower Minister Josephine Teo about the underpayment of foreign employees’ salaries. He wants to know:

  • (a) how many of these cases have been discovered since 2010;
  • (b) what are the main methods used to effect such underpayments,
  • (c) whether employment agencies are involved in any of these violations.”

For her part, Ms Poa will be asking Ms Teo how much has been spent to help out dormitory operators because of the Covid-19 pandemic and whether they will have to repay the Government.

Ms Poa also intends to ask the minister about measures to ensure skills transfer from employment pass holders to the local workforce, how businesses are committed to skills transfer, and if companies have to transfer skills within a certain time.

/TISG

 

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