SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking at beefing up resources to scrutinise unfair hiring practices by companies, said Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng on Monday (Aug 31).
He gave the response in an exchange with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Pritam Singh, in Parliament, who had asked about his statement that the ministry was stepping up surveillance and enforcement actions against businesses that blatantly discriminate against local workers.
The Workers' Party chief quizzed the new minister whether "stepping up" entailed increasing the budget for the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), for instance, particularly as there are a large number of companies in Singapore across many industries.
Dr Tan replied: "We certainly would look at beefing up the resources."
The minister added that resources have also been increased for his ministry to take over the management of the Covid-19 outbreak at migrant worker dormitories from an inter-agency task force.
"Together with the part about Tafep, that actually takes care of the rest of the industry. We certainly are beefing up the resources," he said.
Dr Tan, who is also Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, had said in his speech earlier that MOM had been working "doubly hard" to monitor and ensure companies comply with anti-discrimination measures.
Firms will not be allowed to practise "wanton discrimination" against local workers, he added, especially in the current bleak economic climate.
During the exchange, Mr Singh also asked Dr Tan about the Fair Consideration Framework, which was introduced in 2014 after Singaporeans voiced unhappiness about foreigners taking away good-paying professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) jobs from them.
Is the ministry still seeing errant and uncooperative employers, and how would firms be engaged to improve the current situation, the Opposition leader asked.
Dr Tan said that besides monitoring them, the ministry will also work with them to understand how the problem of having too many foreign workers arose.
"That's the kind of engagement that I was alluding to. Suffice to say, today we have stepped up, we are all working very hard to make sure that the companies work with the relevant authorities to ensure that this fair hiring, non-discriminatory type of practices are more prevalent across all the companies in Singapore," he added.