Government 'does not entirely reject' workplace anti-discrimination laws

The Government does not entirely reject implementing workplace anti-discrimination laws to protect Singaporeans, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.

But the experience of some countries showed that laws in themselves do not change employers' mindsets so the Government still prefers to use persuasion to tackle workplace discrimination for now, added the minister.

Mr Tan said: "At the end of the day, we should aim for a balanced approach which can serve Singaporeans well in the long run."

The minister's comments on Monday morning came after fair employment watchdog Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (Tafep) said that the number of complaints it received last year reached an all-time high of 303 cases. Half the complaints related to gripes by Singaporeans that their employers prefer foreigners.

Mr Tan was speaking to some 500 participants, including unionists and employers, who attended a fair employment conference organised by Tafep.

At the conference, the watchdog also presented its annual report which showed that besides complaints, it reached out to more employers last year, including getting more of them to pledge that they will treat their workers fairly.