PM Lee's National Day Rally to look at lifting incomes, fair hiring: Lawrence Wong

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said ways to ensure fair hiring and human resource practices will be explored in the speech. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally next Sunday (Aug 29) will look at the full range of measures to continue uplifting the incomes of Singaporeans, especially those at the lower end, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

He said ways to ensure fair hiring and human resource practices - so both the Singaporean core and foreign professionals complement one another - will also be explored in the speech.

"We want to assemble the best team in Singapore in order to ensure that we can survive and thrive as a nation for many more years to come," said Mr Wong.

He was speaking during an interview on Friday with the BBC, and was asked for a preview of possible announcements from the rally speech with regard to foreign workers in Singapore.

The Rally - called off in 2020 due to Covid-19 - is seen as the most important political speech of the year and traditionally involves policy changes and a charting of Singapore's future direction.

Mr Wong noted that many countries - including Singapore - were dealing with broader adjustments to their social contract, especially with issues around globalisation.

"Countries everywhere face these same concerns about whether foreigners are taking over jobs and opportunities for locals, whether it might result in higher income and wealth inequalities, whether there will be unfair hiring practices," he said.

"These are not unique to Singapore."

These concerns have been accelerated and amplified by the pandemic, Mr Wong observed.

"That's why we have been reviewing our policies over the years," he said.

"There is a whole range of policy levers that can be reviewed, adjusted and tweaked. It is not as though these have been static over the years. If you look over the past 10 years, they have continually been updated, and we will continue to do so."

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