You probably know that 2016 is probably going to be a sluggish year for the Singapore economy — after all, recent news of Singapore's employment growth probably put paid to all the vagueness.
Consider these headlines:
And if the usually awkward West Coast GRC MP Patrick Tay, who took the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's seat in parliament, is also fearing the worst and doing his best LKY-esque warning,
You better get out of your seat and hide in your
storeroom bomb shelter.
So what exactly did Tay say on Jan. 28 in Parliament?
- Employment growth in 2015 is down and the lowest in 13 years.
Now for the Ups, which are actually downs
- Redundancy is up in 2015.
- Unemployment is flat but we must not assume it will stay flat or low. Tay expects an uptrend in unemployment especially for PMEs.
And how can we weather this storm?
- Implement a PME (professionals, managers and executives) dependency ratio for "problem sectors" which display a weak Singaporean core and a weak commitment to hire and develop Singaporeans.
Tay threw shade at these particular sectors:
"I still hear murmurings about certain sectors, the IT sector and the financial sector in particular. The feedback is that there are still companies in these two sectors where there is a weak Singaporean Core and a weak commitment to create a Singaporean Core."
- Impose stricter Employment Pass application conditions and requirements for companies with a weak Singaporean Core and weak commitment to create a Singaporean Core:
"We need to move not just from a Manpower Led to Manpower Lean economy but a Singaporean PME Led and Foreigner PME Lean economy for our locals to fully exploit the labour market and yet be able to fully realise their potential and skills."
Looks like it's gonna be a bumpy ride but, hey, these are suggestions Singaporeans can get behind.
But of course, there are no one-size-fits-all shoes. It took just 24 hours for the Singapore National Employers Federation and the Singapore Business Federation to hit back.
Well, you can't please everyone, can you?
Anyway, it was interesting to note that while Tay was delivering his speech, the camera panned to former labour chief and now Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say giving his full attention and looking proudly at Tay as if saying: "You've done well, young Padawan."
Looks like the LKY seat effect is in full swing.
Top photo from Patrick Tay's Facebook page