Anonymous grouses against employers hard to probe: MOM

Anonymity limits new dept's ability to look into discrimination against locals

Do not make anonymous complaints against your bosses if you want the authorities to probe your grouses fully.

While acknowledging that whistle-blowers carry some personal risk, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said anonymous complaints would limit a new department's "ability to carry out in-depth investigations as (its) officers are unable to ask specific questions related to the complaint".

The ministry made the warning in an official blog post yesterday, a day before new rules kick in that require firms to consider Singaporeans for employment, training and promotion fairly.

From today, firms must advertise in a government-run national jobs bank before they can apply for employment passes for foreigners to fill the vacancies.

The new rules, called the Fair Consideration Framework, come on the back of a slowdown in the inflow of foreign workers after Singaporeans voiced unhappiness about them taking away good-paying professional, managerial and executive (PME) jobs from locals.

The MOM also announced yesterday that it had set up a new department to probe complaints of discrimination.

The Fair Consideration Department, headed by a director-level senior official, will also "engage firms across different industry sectors to better understand their human resource practices and efforts to develop Singaporean PMEs", the ministry said.

The MOM did not answer queries by press time on details of the new unit. But it said in its blog post that its staff have been "engaging firms" to help them "adjust their human resource practices", without giving details. It did, however, single out two firms which it had talked to regarding their "disproportionately low concentration of Singaporean PMEs".

One of them, German technology company MSG Global Solutions Asia, provides software for insurance firms. It has six Singaporeans out of 50 IT consultants.

Its finance manager, Ms Melanie Gooi, said it struggles to hire locals as not many Singaporeans have experience in the field, but it is stepping up training and recruitment.

While supporting MOM's stand on anonymity, Member of Parliament Zainudin Nordin, chair of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower, urged the ministry not to completely dismiss those complaints which may contain vital information about company practices.

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