On Friday (14 February), Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen assured the public that the Government will help minimise any retrenchments occurred due to the COVID-19 epidemic affecting the country’s economy.

“Even as we deal with the viral outbreak, we must ensure that our economy can function to keep jobs and livelihoods for Singapore,” he said in his Total Defence Day message.

He continued, “The Government will work with companies and unions to ensure that retrenchments are kept to a minimum, if at all.”

Earlier, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has announced that the upcoming Budget 2020, which will be delivered next Tuesday (18 February), will detailed out measures to assist the most affected sectors – tourism and transport.

In order to help the transport industry, the Government, along with taxi and private-hire operators, have already declared a S$77 million package to aid taxi and private-hire drivers who have been hit due to the outbreak.

Separately, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) also noted that it will waive licence fees for hotels, tour guides and travel agents. The Board added that it will cover the cleaning costs for hotels that accommodated confirmed and suspected cases of the deadly coronavirus.

On Tuesday, STB highlighted that the tourism industry will take a “significant hit” due to the outbreak, as the number of visitors arriving to the country may drop by 25 to 30 percent this year.

Additionally, the Government also noted that it is anticipating a knock-on impact on other related industries and firms, mentioning that it is ready to support companies and employees in case of a broad-based slowdown in the upcoming months.

The Government stated that some of the measures planned out include helping firms retain and train their employees by helping out with their partial salary costs.

Dr Ng said that Singapore managed to defeat the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis 17 years ago through Total Defence.

“We remember how SARS caused sickness and death. Fear of being infected gripped citizens everywhere and it paralysed economies. Tourists stopped travelling and people stayed home. As a result, jobs were lost and retrenchments went up,” he explained.

He added, “But in Singapore, we rallied through Total Defence, stayed united, overcame the SARS crisis to emerge intact and stronger.”

Given that Singapore is currently in combat with the novel coronavirus, Dr Ng said Total Defence “must now come into action again”.

Applauds frontline medical workers

Dr Ng also said that Singapore must make its psychological defence stronger to deal with the “ups and downs” of the outbreak and move on with daily life.

“In the midst of this battle against the viral outbreak, we offer our deep condolences to the families of victims who have suffered,” he said.

He continued, “We also salute our frontline staff, especially our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who treat patients day to day and up close. You have our fullest respect and gratitude. Please protect yourselves and your families even as you do your jobs as professionals.”

Will win the battle against the virus

As for social defence, the Minister advised people to maintain good hygiene and stay away from others if they are feeling unwell.

“If you have cough and other flu symptoms, don’t spread the disease to others,” he said.

“At the same time, we must show empathy and compassion to help those who are infected or under quarantine,” he added.

Speaking of digital defence, the sixth and newest pillar of Total Defence, Dr Ng said that it is a “timely and necessary addition” given that the Republic is going all out to contain the virus.

“False information about the disease or messages to incite hatred against any group do nothing to contain the outbreak,” he said.

“We must never let these ‘Drums’ — distortions, rumours, untruths, misinformation and smears — be heard lest they sow discord, divide our people and ultimately weaken our will to defeat the outbreak and defend Singapore.”

Having said that, the Defence Minister mentioned that he is confident that Singaporeans will rally and defeat the COVID-19.

“Only then, as one united people, can our nation stand up and overcome any challenge that comes our way,” he stated.

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

总理代表律师申请撤销梁实轩反诉

针对时评人梁实轩反告总理李显龙滥用司法程序,总理代表律师选择向法庭申请撤销前者的反诉。 梁实轩是在今日于脸书公布诉讼进展。他表示他也会提出申请,以滥用司法程序为由,要求撤销总理对他的提控。 总理新闻秘书张俪霖称,总理律师申请撤销梁实轩反诉的理由,是因为后者的反诉“既没有法律依据,也没胜诉希望”。 随着总理选择不回应梁实轩反告,梁也有意要求上诉庭重新审视,总理诉讼是否涉及滥用程序。 只因分享一则脸书贴文,梁实轩于去年11月遭总理提告诽谤,指出梁分享的贴文内容毫无根据,诋毁总理人格和声誉。 有关文章指《砂拉越报告》主编克莱尔,在接受访谈时指出在一马公司弊案中,新加坡和瑞士及美国,成了调查对象。但较后《砂》已澄清有关文章内容不实,要求STR纠正。 然而,梁实轩当时纯粹分享贴文,也未留下任何个人评述和留言。他已遵循资媒局指示撤下了贴文,但还是被总理以法律诉讼对付。 对于总理的提告,梁实轩也由代表律师林鼎,在上月底反诉总理滥用法庭程序,并向总理索讨“名誉损害”的赔偿。

【选举】李显龙称此次选举与李家纠纷无关

行动党秘书长李显龙称,弟弟参与前进党是公民的权利,本届选举也与李家纠纷无关,而是关乎新加坡的未来。 在今日(29日)的线上记者会,李显龙回应《联合早报》提问,对于弟弟加入前进党有何看法。对此李显龙称,此次选举无关涉及他和弟弟的家庭纠纷。 昨日李显扬就已对媒体表示,入党前就已自由发表言论,没理由为了讨论家庭纠纷入党。前进党秘书长陈清木也强调,了解显扬入党,乃是因为后者相信该党理念,也懂得把政治和个人意图分开。 本月24日,陈清木正式移交党员证给李显扬。他当时表示,李显扬是已故李光耀之子,而自己也曾与李光耀共事,李光耀坚持自己的原则,相信两人都看到当前执政党的问题,再者李显扬也支持前进党理念。 李显扬过去就已表态全力支持前进党,也曾指出“今时今日的人民行动党,已不再是我父亲领导时期的行动党。它已经迷失了方向。”(Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of…

Thio Li-Ann at center of controversy in New York University

Visiting professor at NYU, Thio Li-Ann, stirs controversy with her remarks on homosexuality.

The Real Singapore's former editor Ai Takagi sentenced to 10-months jail

Former editor of website The Real Singapore (TRS) Ai Takagi, 23, was…