Singapore GE2020: MOM refutes PSP figure of 100,000 unemployed local PMETs in TV debate

SINGAPORE – It is incorrect to say that Singapore has 100,000 local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) who are out of a job, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (July 2), refuting a figure cited by the Progress Singapore Party during a televised live debate on Wednesday.

As of June last year, there were 39,000 local unemployed PMETs, said the ministry in a statement, less than 50 per cent of the 100,000 figure quoted by Mr Francis Yuen of the PSP during the programme, Singapore Votes 2020 – The Political Debate, on Channel 5.

Mr Yuen, 70, is a former Hong Leong Asia chief executive and ex-Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel. He is leading PSP’s four-man team in Chua Chu Kang GRC against the PAP team helmed by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Answering the first question posed by the debate moderator on how the PSP will deal with rising unemployment and create jobs for Singaporeans despite the bleak economic outlook, Mr Yuen said: “We have a lot of foreign PMETs working here. I think there are about 400,000 of them, and yet we have about more than 100,000 of these PMETs who are out of a job.

“We believe that we need foreign PMETs to complement but we need to believe that there is opportunity for us to slow it down.”

He later cited the figure again in response to Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan’s question: “What else do you want (the People’s Action Party) to do…as far as PMETs are concerned?”

Dr Balakrishnan, representing the PAP, said the number of local PMETs is increasing by 3 per cent a year, higher than the overall local workforce’s growth rate, and that there are seven locals holding a PMET job for every foreign employment pass holder.

“And are you aware that in the first five months of this year, 60,000 foreigners have lost jobs?” he added.

Mr Yuen replied: “I mean the fact still remains that you have amongst us over 400,000 foreign PMETs working here. And the fact also remains that we have a number of our own PMETs that are out of job to the tune of 100,000.

“So logic will tell us that our own PMETs certainly could fill up some of the jobs that the current PMET s could do.”

MOM said it got its 39,000 figure from the Report on Labour Force in Singapore 2019 released on Jan 30 this year. This year’s figures will be released in the report early next year as the survey is conducted annually, it said.

It is unclear where Mr Yuen obtained the figure of 100,000 unemployed local PMETs. The Straits Times has contacted the PSP for more information.

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

Source: Read Full Article