Slowing job market is top on MPs' minds

An office worker at Raffles Place on June 3, 2015.
An office worker at Raffles Place on June 3, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

Issue draws 16 queries for House sitting on Monday; others include online gambling

The slowing job market is a top concern for MPs, who have filed 16 questions for Monday's Parliament sitting on the Government's plans to support workers in this climate.

Online gambling, rewards for national sports athletes, as well as the use of personal mobility devices will also get an airing in the House.

With jobseekers outnumbering job vacancies for the first time in four years and the economy facing global headwinds, labour MP Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC) will ask Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say what his ministry is doing to raise the employment rate of local workers, which has remained stagnant for the past 18 months.

Non-constituency MP Daniel Goh is asking if the ministry can make it easier for older professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who are retrenched or jobless to join its Career Support Programme. The programme aims to encourage the hiring and training of jobless PMETs.

Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) wants to know if the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will make it mandatory for employers to report their hiring outcomes, and to list job openings in Jobs Bank, the national database, even when the position has been advertised on other platforms.

A comprehensive jobs registry "will help policymakers have further insight into the job market and, hopefully, identify vulnerable groups and emerging job trends before they become apparent to traditional analysis", said Dr Tan.

MPs also filed questions about online gambling, with lottery operators Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club given the go-ahead to launch online betting services.

Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) and Mr Edwin Tong (Marine Parade GRC) are asking Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin about safeguards to prevent an increase in online gambling.

Mr Alex Yam (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC), Ms Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson) and Prof Goh are asking Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu if more can be done to recognise the sporting efforts of Paralympians. Ms Tin and Prof Goh want to know if disabled athletes can get the same rewards as able-bodied athletes.

Seven MPs have also filed questions on safety issues relating to the use of personal mobility devices such as electric scooters.

MPs Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) and Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) want to know if the Land Transport Authority will consider a requirement for users of such devices to buy insurance to cover accidents.

Eight Bills, including one amending the Constitution to effect changes to the elected presidency, will be introduced on Monday. MPs will also debate amendments to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Act that include simplifying the payout process for the Retirement Sum Scheme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Slowing job market is top on MPs' minds'. Print Edition | Subscribe