Forum: Anti-discrimination laws needed for diverse workforce

Beyond being "carrot and stick", anti-discrimination legislation reflects the deeper values a country's government and citizens collectively stand for (MP moots law to tackle hiring bias, protect local workers, Feb 25).

Legislation, with penalties on rule breakers, is a deterrent.

The absence of legislation allows discrimination by employers to run unchecked (More employers investigated for unfair hiring practices, Nov 20, 2020),

A diverse workforce brings about economic benefits. Giant corporations like SAP and Microsoft testify that neurodivergent employees such as autistics are a source of innovation, creativity and productivity. The World Economic Forum touches on this too in the report, "Here's why neurodiversity is so important at work". Companies must adopt the new business paradigm - people, planet, profit - for Singapore to remain competitive in the international arena.

In Budget 2021, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat emphasised the need to strengthen the social compact, and how it is imperative to work together to support, and address challenges faced by, vulnerable segments of society to ensure equal opportunities for all.

Singapore ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013. It is time that this was translated into concrete laws.

Developed nations like Australia and New Zealand have legislation prohibiting discrimination based on disability. I urge the Government to pass anti-discrimination legislation to assert its firm stand on this as much as racial and religious equality. This will send a strong signal that disabled people are equal members of society.

This will propel Singapore forward and accelerate our progress towards the Government's vision of building inclusiveness and caring for all segments of society.

Wesley Loh