Opposition parties call for change in labour policies

The Singapore People's Party said that at this point in the evolution of Singaporeans' socio-economic needs, the Government must go further to help locals, beyond recent initiatives such as the Pioneer Generation Package.

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Here is Singapore People's Party Secretary-General Chiam See Tong's message:

Dear Workers of Singapore,

Happy Labour Day!

May Day is an auspicious day to celebrate and honour workers' contributions to the nation. It is also a time to rally Singaporeans particularly the youths to have a stake and future of the nation.

For Budget 2014, the government dished out GST vouchers - this is nothing new. We have them almost every year. They also rolled out the Pioneer Generation Package, which is long overdue. The scheme is also so complicated that the government has problems trying to get people to understand it.

While these are positive initiatives, the SPP feels that at this point in the evolution of the socio-economic needs of Singaporeans, the government must go further to help Singaporeans.

It is not sufficient just to create jobs. It is equally important to create relevant jobs that Singaporeans want and can handle.

Tools and policies must also be aligned to ensure employers do not prioritize short term cost savings over long run productivity growth.

It is only economically sound to allow non-competitive firms to restructure, move overseas or wind down so that resources can be freed up for the most competitive local firms.

For instance, the SPP feels that the government's accountability to its people must be based on the following indicators:

• the percentage of Singaporeans employed in newly created jobs;

• the median pay of Singaporeans versus our foreign counterparts;

• what incentives are in place to motivate companies to help meet the indicators above.

The government needs to encourage more productive, innovative and cutting edge companies to help build up our productivity. There will then be limited growth for companies that are overly reliant on low wage foreign labour. Singapore has a few of these companies in the marine industry, for instance.

To dream of a Singapore that will last beyond the next 50 years, we need to build on what we always had - our human capital. We need to continue to invest in our people and educate them for the future. Our education system has to be robust and dynamic to meet the challenges ahead.

Chiam See Tong

Secretary-General, Singapore People's Party