As part of Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) “Four Yes, One No” campaign, the party on Wednesday (24 June) outlined a new plan to help create job opportunities for Singaporeans who have lost their jobs due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to members of the media at the party’s virtual Meet The Press session, SDP secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan said that this new proposal is an “extension” to the party’s retrenchment benefits, which is included in one of the “Four Yes”.
SDP’s initial vision under its GE campaign was to offer retrenchment benefits by getting the Government to pay 75 per cent of a retrenched worker’s last drawn salary for the first six months, 50 per cent for the second six months, and 25 per cent for the final six months. This will be capped at the median wage.
However, the extended new proposal looks at gathering retrenched workers together so that they can come up with a viable business plan.
Dr Chee said: “If they (retrenched workers) can find nine other similarly retrenched workers who are on the retrenchment benefit scheme to come together…to propose a viable business plan, then they can apply to the government (to have) the benefits withdrawn in one lump-sum, rather than stretched out over a one and a half year period.”
He added, “They can pool their money together and use the capital for a startup,” adding that this will offer the retrenched individuals a “gainful employment”.
If that’s not all, the party’s chief also noted that this will be good for Singapore as it will be a “serious and genuine effort to restructure our economy”.
“This is one way we can stimulate innovation, creativity and if these businesses are successful, they’re going to generate employment as well.”
Dr Chee said that this system originated in Italy and it’s called the Marcora Law. As such, he said SDP wants to propose and push for this, and hopes that Singaporeans will support them in this initiative.
SDP’s chairman Dr Paul Tambyah, who was the moderator at Wednesday’s online Meet The Press session, pointed out that what the PAP government did in the last four Budgets is to help employers in the hope that “the benefits will trickle down to employees and ordinary Singaporeans”.
“All that they have put is S$600 or S$1,000 into everybody’s bank account, whether you’re a millionaire or somebody who really needs a lot money to survive on a daily basis. But what we’re talking about here is actually retrenchment benefits on an individual basis – cash in the pockets of Singaporeans and unleashing their creative talents,” Dr Tambyah added.
Creating meaningful jobs for the people
Separately, Dr Chee also stated that although PAP has been, for years, mentioning about job creation, the SDP still sees more Singaporeans getting retrenched, resulting in many of them working as delivery guys or Grab drivers.
“One way conceivably for the PAP to talk about job creation is to bring one, two million more people into Singapore,” Dr Chee said, adding that this burgeoning population size is going to result in a higher demand for jobs like delivery guys and Grab drivers.
“We are not talking about such jobs. We are talking about meaningful jobs with the career path for people to embark on (and) jobs that pay well,” he stressed.