Fewer SDAs if S'poreans can uphold 'personal responsibility': Lawrence Wong

They can be redeployed to other sectors.

Low Jia Ying | March 24, 2022, 05:13 PM

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The number of safe distancing ambassadors (SDAs) in Singapore is expected to be scaled down, as more restrictions are eased and if Singaporeans take on more "social and personal responsibility", said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) during a press conference on Thursday (Mar. 24).

Wong was responding to a question from the media on what will happen to safe distancing ambassadors now that restrictions will be eased from Mar. 29.

SDAs still needed to enforce safe management measures

Wong said even though restrictions will be eased, there will still be safe management measures to comply with.

"Therefore, there will be still a requirement for SDAs as well as enforcement officers," he said.

He added that as Singapore begins its transition to a new phase of living with Covid-19, he encourages Singaporeans to "take on more social and personal responsibility, and rely less on external forces or enforcement checks".

He added: "If more people can do this and uphold that sort of attitude of personal responsibility, then indeed over a period of time, we will scale back our SDAs and allow these people to be redeployed in other sectors, for which there are huge demands for manpower too."

SDAs can be redeployed to help in other sectors: Ong Ye Kung

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung also thanked the SDAs for "two years of very hard work going all around Singapore watching out for our fellow Singaporeans".

He said given the recent changes in safe management measures, "the demand for SDAs probably will come down".

He noted that many of the operational staff in the Ministry of Health doing work in vaccinations, contact tracing and call centres are from the aviation sector.

He expects that as borders reopen, the staff from the aviation sector will return, leaving some employment opportunities in MOH available for SDAs.

Ong also observed that Singapore is "going through a tight labour market" and that there are job vacancies in various sectors that SDAs will be able to explore.

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Top photo by Syahindah Ishak and Lean Jinghui