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PSP’s Francis Yuen weighs in on TechPass

Mr Yuen suggested that high-calibre technical talent be brought in to work hand-in-hand saying that they should be brought in as "entre-partners"




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In a previous video, the ’s (PSP) Assistant Secretary-General explained in detail the party’s position on ministers backtracking on TraceTogether promises.

In this clip, we hear from Mr Yuen about how small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, are doing in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, he touches on the , a visa that allows established tech entrepreneurs, leaders or technical experts from around the world to come to Singapore to perform frontier and disruptive innovations.

On talent, Mr Yuen said that the talent coming in should not compete with our own locals, who may or may not have been given the same chance. He suggested that talent be brought in to become stakeholders in companies to help raise local companies.

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“Not for them to come and compete with our locals who can do the job. Unless they are really that calibre of people that we do not have”, he said.

According to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Tech.Pass will be valid for two years in the first instance and allows the holder to:

  1. Start and operate one or more tech companies
  2. Be an employee in one or more Singapore-based companies at any time
  3. Transit between employers or to an entrepreneur
  4. Be a consultant or mentor, lecture in local institutions of higher learning, or be an investor and director in one or more Singapore based companies
  5. Sponsor stay for spouse, children, and parents1 in Singapore on either a Dependant’s Pass (DP) or a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) issued by MOM
  6. Renew for another two years, upon meeting renewal criteria

In order to fill a gap and help SMEs here, Mr Yuen suggested that high-calibre technical talent be brought in to work hand-in-hand. He said to “bring them as entre-partners”.

Mr Yuen was asked what exactly he thought was lacking in Singapore today.

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“What we need, rather than lack, is a strong system to manage the regulations put in place”, he said.

“At the same time, what we need really is to — aside from keeping the pandemic at bay, which we are making progress to do — is to see how we can free up economic activities”, he added.

“It is not just about building the infrastructure here, which we seem to be doing a lot of, but it is about rebuilding the businesses in Singapore, particularly the SMEs”, Mr Yuen said.

In Singapore, SMEs are a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, contributing 48% of its GDP, employing about 65% of its work force and constituting 99% of all its enterprises.

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According to the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and an opinion poll, business sentiment among SMEs in Singapore has eased off its record low, but firms are still expected to hold off expansion and capital investments for the first half of 2021.

This has been the second of a two-part interview with Francis Yuen, Assistant Secretary-General of the . /TISG

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