National Day Awards 2019

A voice for businesses' needs and concerns: Teo Siong Seng

Mr Teo Siong Seng encourages Singaporeans to have a sense of community, camaraderie and the kampung spirit to help one another. ST FILE PHOTO
Mr Teo Siong Seng encourages Singaporeans to have a sense of community, camaraderie and the kampung spirit to help one another. ST FILE PHOTO

Mr Teo Siong Seng
Honorary President,
Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Public Service Star

Mr Teo Siong Seng's most memorable experiences were forged in the cut and thrust of parliamentary debates.

"The Government has many incentives or carrots. But some carrots hang too high and the rabbits can't reach them," he says, describing difficulties faced by the business community he represents.

The 64-year-old managing director of shipping company Pacific International Lines, who is also chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, recalls a particularly tough period in 2010.

Businesses faced rising costs from the hike in foreign worker levy and curbs on foreign manpower.

A then Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), he needed to strike a fine balance between what businesses wanted and what the Government could give.

Says Mr Teo: "The Government listens to what businesses say. But businesses must also appreciate what the Government can or cannot do with public money, which entails a degree of goalkeeping.

 

"As NMPs, we have to raise issues and give constructive suggestions."

Mr Teo hopes Singaporeans will embrace diversity and stay strongly united.

"We're going through a very challenging time, but we've been through half a century of nation building and achieved much through hard work and determination. We should have a sense of community, camaraderie and the kampung spirit to help one another."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'A voice for businesses' needs and concerns'. Print Edition | Subscribe