SINGAPORE: A call has been made for the Finance Minister to consider making the Special Employment Credit (SEC) for the elderly and the disabled, a permanent feature of the social safety net in Singapore.
Speaking during the Budget debate in Parliament on Tuesday, MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, Denise Phua said that such a move assures employers that the incentives will not only be available for the short term.
She said that this will go a long way to reflect the value society places on those who are vulnerable and to encourage them to work where they can instead of collecting welfare, and to develop a reliable alternative to the foreign workforce.
Ms Phua also noted the Budget provided Special Employment Credits only for graduates from VWO-run Special Education (SPED) Schools.
However, she felt there are many people with disabilities in Singapore who did not attend or graduate from SPED Schools and their potential or current employers should not be deprived of the SEC incentives for employing them.
Ms Phua also suggested reviewing budget allocation for, in particular defence, to help fund future social needs.
This year's budget allocated close to 25 per cent to defence.
"Whilst I know that the security of our small nation-state is critical and defence is not an expenditure to be dispensed with easily; I urge the government to study the optimal resources Singapore should expend on defence versus other new and pressing social needs," said Ms Phua.
"The study should consider the changing nature of warfare the defence team has to wage, from traditional to cyber wars and terrorism; and balance it with the upcoming and costly social needs of a maturing Singapore."