PAP Govt plans ahead for changes: Boon Heng

Former labour chief Lim Boon Heng cautioned yesterday that jobs are changing quickly under the pressure of technology, and Singapore needs a forward-looking government to prepare the workforce.

Speaking at a People's Action Party (PAP) rally in Aljunied GRC, the former party chairman said these pressing challenges were not discussed by other political parties.

From retailers to taxi drivers, there are groups already affected by technological developments, he said, such as the rise of online shopping and the use of third-party apps like Uber and GrabTaxi.

Singapore's external environment is also changing rapidly.

"In the past, Chinese people (would) come and learn from Singapore. Now we have to go to China to learn what is happening, how it will impact on us, how it will impact on the jobs that we have," he said.

Mr Lim, who has been advising the PAP in the opposition territory for the past few years, asked Aljunied voters to return the ruling party's candidates to Parliament to shore up the Government.

"If you return the PAP candidates, PM has five more to choose from for his Cabinet, after they have proven themselves," he said.

Mr Lim noted that the PAP Government has a proven track record in finding solutions to external

pressures. For example, Newater was invented to stem the Republic's reliance on Malaysia for water, he said, adding that PAP leaders have always been dedicated to Singaporeans.

"The grey hair that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had, the grey hair that Mr Goh Chok Tong has, the grey hair that Mr Lee Hsien Loong has today are all for you," he said.

He asked the rally audience to take a picture of young ministerial- calibre candidates today, and contrast it to their appearance five years hence, after joining the Cabinet.

"A lot of white hair, worrying for you," he predicted.

Rachel Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'PAP Govt plans ahead for changes: Boon Heng'. Print Edition | Subscribe