TODAY: Singapore workers disadvantaged: WP

THE Singapore economic model, one in which Singaporeans are dependent on foreigners for their jobs, has eroded the societal standing of the Singapore worker, suggested the Workers’ Party (WP) in its May Day message yesterday.

The WP cited an anecdote from Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, at the recent Singapore Tripartism Forum, of a woman concerned about a “sweet, young beer girl from China” undercutting her wages at the coffee shop.

According to The Straits Times, Mr Lim had said the young girl drew more customers, in turn helping the Singaporean to keep her job.

“According to Mr Lim’s logic, is he conceding the People’s Action Party has created an economic model whereby Singaporeans must now be dependent on the foreign workers to retain our jobs?” asked the WP statement, which cited how 60 per cent of the 234,900 jobs created last year went to foreigners.

The party also questioned if the “rosy picture” of the record job growth had masked some disadvantages.

“Could it be that more Singaporeans are holding contractual part-time work positions, whereas foreigners might be benefiting from the full-time positions created?” asked the WP.

The job figures required “more detailed analysis to understand the actual employment status” of Singaporeans and their employment terms, such as medical benefits and annual leave.

The WP ended its message with a call for more help measures from the Government, in the context of rising food prices, “on top of the initiatives (such as the U Stretch food voucher programme) by the National Trades Union Congress”.

While the party did not suggest food subsidies “across the board”, it repeated its call to reduce the Goods and Services Tax to 5 per cent and to keep it at that rate for “at least a year”.

It also suggested the Government reduce fuel taxes.

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