Forum: Government listens to Singaporeans' concerns on jobs and livelihoods

In his letter, "Don't be too quick to dismiss concerns about foreign workers" (Sept 23), Mr Luo Siao Ping voiced concerns about categorising feedback on foreign workers as xenophobic or racist, thus alienating those who wish to give sincere feedback.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Government has never considered people who express anxieties or concerns about their jobs to be racist or xenophobic.

It is precisely because we want to prevent such divisions in society that it called out the Progress Singapore Party during the recent parliamentary debates, for exploiting these anxieties to stir racism and xenophobia.

The objective of the Government's foreign manpower policy has always been to ensure that foreigners complement, rather than displace, local workers.

Over the years, we have strengthened our policies and enhanced our schemes to do so. For example, we raised the salary thresholds for Employment Pass and S Pass holders twice last year.

We have also been progressively stepping up efforts to enhance workplace fairness for over two decades.

We stiffened penalties, extended the coverage of the Fair Consideration Framework job advertising requirement to S Passes, and doubled the minimum advertising duration from 14 to 28 days. We are now taking the next step of strengthening our enforcement against workplace discrimination through legislation.

While the majority of Singaporeans have benefited from globalisation, a significant minority have not.

We spare no effort to help them, and enable them to compete strongly. For example, the National Jobs Council spearheaded the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, through which more than 128,000 local job-seekers have been placed into jobs and skills opportunities as at July.

Job-seekers who need support can approach Workforce Singapore and NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute, including any of the 24 SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres across the country.

We wish to assure Mr Luo that the Government engages widely to hear the views and concerns of our workers, job-seekers, union leaders, business owners and chambers, HR community and stakeholders.

We are committed to walking this journey with all our stakeholders, so as to secure better employment outcomes for Singaporeans.

Ho Moon Shin

Press Secretary to the Minister for Manpower