Home News In the House Zaqy Mohamad, Jamus Lim spar in Parliament on WP's proposal of a...

Zaqy Mohamad, Jamus Lim spar in Parliament on WP’s proposal of a minimum wage

House hears that the WP figure of S$1,300 is meant to be the take-home pay

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

Singapore — The Government and the Workers’ Party sparred in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 3) on the WP’s call for the introduction of a minimum wage, on what actually constituted a minimum wage and on the need for clarity of the WP’s position on the matter.

Associate Professor Jamus Lim (WP-Sengkang GRC) had asked a question regarding the number of Singaporeans earning less than S$1,300 monthly, the amount that WP chief Pritam Singh set as a universal minimum wage “base” last month.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad was quoted in a report by todayonline.com as saying that “it would not be meaningful nor accurate to consider income according to the parameters of” A/Prof Lim’s question, since other factors such as CPF contributions and Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) payouts should also be considered with regard to a person’s income.

Mr Zaqy said that there are 30,000 full-time Singaporean workers in areas such as food services, cleaning and retail, and 22,000 self-employed workers who earn less than S$1,300 a month.

- Advertisement -

He added that one-third of these workers are aged 50 and older and that 80 per cent have up to post-secondary qualifications, noting that in comparison to the current generation, low-wage workers tend to be older and have a lower educational background.

Mr Zaqy also said that they receive additional state support such as GST vouchers and financial assistance under ComCare.

According to the definition from the International Labour Organization (ILO), which is followed by Singapore, “earnings” include employee contributions to social security and pension schemes. This means that CPF and Workfare contributions must be considered in calculating earnings, since these are used for housing and healthcare.

channelnewsasia.com report quoted him as saying: “I think it’s worth to note that 75 per cent of our Workfare recipients, lower-income workers, also own their own homes and therefore there’s a direct impact from CPF into your home ownership.”

A/Prof Lim responded: “The ILO has a particular definition but I’m sure that he will also appreciate that for a worker that works full-time in Singapore, they will have a notion of how much their labour effort is worth every month.”

Mr Zaqy asked the WP MP to make the party’s stand on the minimum wage issue clear, as it seemed uncertain whether the S$1,300 minimum wage level is a gross or net amount.

A/Prof Lim answered that his question had concerned take-home pay, “in part because it is about what it means for survival”, and not the minimum wage.

However, Mr Zaqy persisted with his line of questioning: “Could I just confirm once again that the Workers’ Party’s S$1,300 minimum wage benchmark is gross income so that we could settle this and come to an understanding?”

The WP MP replied in the affirmative, calling it a “fair characterisation”, adding later that the party’s position is for the S$1,300 minimum wage to be an employee’s take-home pay. /TISG

Read also: Donald Low advocates Swiss Army knife approach on minimum wage issue

Donald Low advocates Swiss Army knife approach on minimum wage issue

Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Shanmugam challenges opposition to debate on CECA, leaders respond

Singapore— Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam ended a speech in  Parliament on Tuesday (May 11) by challenging Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai to a debate on CECA, the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.  Mr Leong, who is from the Progress...

K Shanmugam: If SG goes down racist route, eventually all Indians can be a target of hate

Singapore—In the wake of a hate crime last Friday (May 7) when a 55-year-old Singaporean-Indian woman was kicked in the chest and called racial slurs, racism and xenophobia were discussed in Parliament on Tuesday (May 11).  Minister for Law and Home Affairs...

Van beats traffic light and almost hits a woman pushing a baby in a stroller

Singapore - A Toyota Hiace van beat the traffic light and almost hit a woman who was crossing the road, pushing a baby in a stroller. Camera footage from another car showed that the Toyota Hiace driver picked up speed instead of...
Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

Theindependent