Jobs must be created even as PMETs are retrained

A foreign worker earning $3,600 a month in Singapore is able to send home enough money for his family to live very comfortably.

However, a Singaporean family of four, with the sole breadwinner earning that same amount, qualifies for government assistance under the Community Health Assist Scheme, since per capita income would be below $1,800.

Professional conversion programmes will not be effective if Singaporeans have to compete with foreign workers at a lower salary scale.

The way forward is to slowly wean Singapore off the use of cheap foreign workers and to nudge employers towards investing in research and development and productivity.

I was interested to read about the opening of a shared central kitchen by Indian eateries ("Indian eateries to share central kitchen"; Aug 5).

The Government could fund such initiatives, with the proviso that only Singaporeans are to be considered for professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) jobs, such as operations managers, engineers/technicians and food technologists.

Professional conversion programmes would be futile if no good-paying jobs are created.

Some of the funds allocated for such programmes could be redirected to projects that directly create jobs for Singaporean PMETs.

Without a flourishing middle class, what kind of future can we, Singaporeans, aspire towards?

With regard to the national Jobs Bank, punitive measures should be taken against employers who use advertisements to get around recruitment guidelines by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

Singaporeans do not ask for privileges. We just want a level playing field.

Colin Loh Yoon Fui