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Chairman’s Labour Day Message 2021

Dear Friends,

The difference between a citizen and anyone else is – a citizen has the courage to stay the course, tahan, and in every one of our small ways work together to lift Singapore out of difficult times.

On May Day this year, the exceptional ability of Singaporean workers to tahan, strive and stay the course must be recognised.

Businesses have been hammered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our PMETS are battling job losses stemming from irresponsible immigration policies.

And our young educated Singaporeans continue to endure immense insecurity over job prospects.

Yet we remain undaunted.

Singapore was built on the back of such strength and resilience.

But as we move forward, cracks in the system are threatening to cause more unwarranted suffering for Singaporeans.

More and more graduates are facing underemployment once they enter the job market.

There is the fear that many of our local talents will fall into the underemployment trap if they continue to get passed over for high-skilled jobs.

The young are not the only ones facing bleak prospects.

Job and wage stagnation, and retrenchments are setting in much earlier than before, impacting middle-aged Singaporeans who are saddled with home loans and the rising costs of raising a family.

Meanwhile, over 50 percent of older workers report facing age discrimination in the workplace.

Vulnerable elderly workers find their hard-earned CPF savings locked-up when needed to cushion the immediate impact of retrenchments and loss of income.

Change should start from the top.

Yet, our former Prime Minister-in-Waiting, who is merely in his fifties, bows out because he deems himself too old to take on the premiership.

Top roles in government and the public service continue to be littered with elites who harbour more paper qualifications than experience and expertise in the field.

Every day, Singaporeans feel the pain of bad policies wrought by paper generals who don’t appear to face the same pressures of job insecurity as the Common Singaporean.

When things go wrong, rotate and repeat seems to be their only solution.

It is time that we tell the government “tak boleh tahan”.

That we will not stand for more irresponsible foreign labour policies that result in fewer good jobs for Singaporeans.

That we will not stand for piecemeal attempts at job creation that boost GDP figures but do little to improve the long-term prospects of our local talents.

If change cannot start from the top, then it must start from the bottom – with us Common Singaporeans.

SDA Chairman’s Office

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