Robert Yap (Source: The CEO Magazine)

In an interview last week, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) president Robert Yap Chin Kok who is also the executive chairman of logistics group YCH, told The Straits Times that Singapore should not become too closed to foreign talents (‘Singapore shouldn’t be too closed to foreign talent: SNEF chief‘).

He said that a degree of diversity provides a benchmark or “sparring partner” for local workers to build upon.

“That kind of (work pass) scheme must always be there… Otherwise, we are just fighting ourselves, we think we are the champion, but (we are) champion only in Siglap. We want to be the champion globally. Just like you compete to be Miss Sungei Road. But Miss Sungei Road is only Miss Sungei Road, what about Miss Universe?” Yap asked.

“We must have a balance, otherwise we become too closed, then we will lose our competitive edge, we lose our own instincts, our local population’s instinct to actually be the best because we think we are already the best.”

Responding to calls for the Manpower Ministry to make public the names of those companies placed on its Fair Consideration Framework watchlist for suspected discriminatory hiring practices, Yap said he does not think it is necessary for first timers.

Only repeated offenders should be named, he said.

“Once you… name and shame, actually, it is very, very, very bad for the company in terms of employment and also its image and… so that could create too many adverse effects,” he said.

Yap receives Public Service Medal

According to YCH website, the company was founded by Yap’s father in 1955. Yap took over the family business later. It said that YCH is “Singapore’s largest home-grown supply chain solutions company and leading regional supply chain management partner to many of the world’s leading brands across Asia Pacific”.

It also stated that Yap “contributes to the development of talents through the participation of various government-related councils, including the Council for Skills, Innovation and Productivity, the Committee on the Future Economy and the logistics sector’s SkillsFuture Sectoral Tripartite Committee”.

“Widely recognised for his thought leadership and contribution to the logistics and supply chain industry, Robert contributes to various government-related councils,” the website further added.

“He is currently the President of Singapore National Employers Federation, Singapore Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Singapore Chairman of the Malaysia-Singapore Business Council, a member of the Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council as well as the industry advisor to the Joint Implementation Committee established by Singapore and Chongqing government which oversees the third Government-to-Government project in Chongqing.”

He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2017 and named “Businessman of the Year” in 2016.

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