SINGAPORE: All employers - including the public service - have to make sure there are enough vacancies, traineeships and on-the-job opportunities for Singaporeans, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Sunday (Jul 5).
This is so, he said, that Singaporeans can “continue to learn and do something constructive,” even during this “very difficult period”.
Mr Ong was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a walkabout at Kampung Admiralty, where he was meeting residents. He was accompanied by his fellow candidates from the People’s Action Party (PAP) team contesting Sembawang GRC: Incumbents Mr Lim Wee Kiak and Mr Vikram Nair, as well as new faces Ms Mariam Jaafar and Ms Poh Li San.
His comments come after Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Saturday that the focus of this General Election should be about how Singapore can get through the COVID-19 crisis, rather than the survival of any opposition party or how many seats the PAP would get in Parliament.
Mr Ong was asked by reporters what else could be done to help the economy recover as quickly as possible. In response, he stressed the importance of “jobs, jobs, jobs ... like we’ve always said before.”
On the healthcare situation, he said it is also important to control the virus and its transmission, in order to “get back to normal life and economic activities” as quickly as possible.
He added that part of this also involves working with different countries to make sure ”green lanes” are established, and people will be allowed to travel again.
“Singapore is a small country, and we need to be connected to the rest of the world,” he said. “So our ability to connect is extremely important to revive our economy.”
EVALUATE COVID-19 CRISIS BASED ON “OBJECTIVE MARKERS”
Mr Ong also addressed questions on the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, noting that it is a “valid question” that “needs to be discussed in the next few days.”
“This kind of question, you can give a comprehensive, objective evaluation,” said Mr Ong.
Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s Tan Cheng Bock earlier commented in his party political broadcast that the PAP Government had struggled to find the right answers when it failed to prepare Singapore for the “explosion” of COVID-19 cases in foreign worker dormitories.
Mr Ong pointed out that local transmission is low, and the situation in the foreign worker dormitories is under control and “getting better by the day”.
By the end of the month, he added, the Government aims to have 80 per cent of foreign workers ready for work again, following testing, segregation and quarantine.
He added that unlike many other countries, Singapore’s healthcare system is also not under pressure. As a result, the fatality rate is “one of the lowest”.
“So I think we can evaluate the performance based on some objective outcomes,” he said.