Forum: Govt and society have roles to play in ensuring employability

Job seekers attend a career fair at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.
Job seekers attend a career fair at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.PHOTO: ST FILE

The arguments in Mr Johann Loh Runming's letter are premised on one assumption: Personal responsibility takes precedence over social and governmental responsibilities (Not Govt's role to ensure employability, Jan 10).

If we were to extend his line of reasoning to other areas of public administration, say, national defence, are we then to say that we should do away with conscription and leave it entirely to one's responsibility to sign up for national service?

Mandating national service was not a popular decision. The founding leaders knew it might cost them politically. Yet they did not subordinate the interests of the country to their political interests.

I would expect the same sort of thinking from the Government today in relation to employment issues.

What about law and order? In the face of criticism from international human rights groups, Singapore remains resolute in upholding the Internal Security Act and the death penalty for drug-related offences.

I would expect the same sort of resolve in relation to employment issues.

Millions, if not billions, of dollars have been spent to make this nation attractive to foreign investors, with the intention of creating jobs for its citizens.

The Government has put in place a world-class education system so that Singaporeans can earn higher salaries.

There is also SkillsFuture, as well as initiatives such as the Professional Conversion Programme and Career Support Programme to help Singaporeans find jobs.

Let us encourage the Government to take an even bolder step and make it mandatory for all to acquire relevant skills to stay employable.

For this to work, we as a society and the Government must work closely together.

The community and the Government have important roles to play.

Faisal Maricar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2020, with the headline 'Govt and society have roles to play in ensuring employability'. Print Edition | Subscribe