As we enter officially into the fourth quarter of the year, focus on the hiring processes of various companies and whether or not these processes are discriminatory towards Singaporeans continues unabated.
In the first series of Parliamentary debates post the general election of 2020, several members of parliament (MPs) have asked Minister for manpower, Josephine Teo to reveal the names of the companies which are on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watch list. Despite these requests, Teo was of the opinion that such revelations would be “counterproductive” and could actually frustrate the particular company’s attempts to hire local individuals.
Given that the watch list is meant to be a counter measure against unfair hiring practices, its relatively anonymity seems incongruous with its desired objective. Surely the companies on that watch list would be more mindful of who they hire if they knew that the public were watching? Wouldn’t publicity ensure more compliance to avoid public backlash and bad press?
In every situation, there are always two sides to the story and it would appear that the current focus on the number of foreigners in Singapore is causing some anxiety.
According to reports, some twenty expats (who were interviewed) have expressed worries over job insecurities and prospects as companies may be forced to look inward amid the push for local hires. An expat also raised a very valid concern – that of the rental market in Singapore. Many middle class Singaporeans may own an additional property (with mortgages) which are rented out to expats. If all these expats are forced to leave, these Singaporeans could be left saddled with a mortgage they cannot service without tenants. This raises the knock on effects of Singapore’s seemingly over reliance on foreigners which the Government has seemingly yet to fully grasp or tackle.
Another issue that has taken the press (both mainstream and independent) by storm is the high profile acquittal of foreign domestic worker (FDW), Parti Liyani by the High Court for alleged theft of up to $34,000 of items. The High Court case revealed certain disturbing lapses during the investigation and charging process. It also sheds light on the imbalance of power between affluent citizens and FDWs. Given that Parti’s employer is the influential Changi Airport Group (CAG) chairman Liew Mun Leong, questions have been raised if his prominence in society had made his family’s versions of events more believable than that of a FDW.
It has since been revealed that Parti had wanted to lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) against the Liew family for making her work beyond the scope of her domestic duties in contravention of MOM rules. While this may well have been material evidence which could call the Liew’s motives in lodging a police report into question, it has now come to light that Judge Olivia Low of the lower court had repeatedly prevented Parti’s lawyer from raising the issue of his client’s intention to alert MOM regarding the illegal deployment.
In a press release issued by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC), the AGC noted that one of the High Court Judge, Justice Chan’s findings was that there was reason to believe that the Liew family took the pre-emptive step to terminate the Appellant’s employment suddenly and without giving her sufficient time to pack, in the hope that she would not use the time to make a complaint to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) about her illegal deployment to work for Karl Liew, the son of Liew Mun Leong.
Further, it has also been revealed that there have been serious mistakes made in the investigation process of this matter. From the handling of the evidence to the seemingly glaring inconsistencies in statements made by the Liew family, it did not seem like a strong case for the AGC to prosecute in the first place. Why then did the AGC make the decision to prosecute? This is something that the AGC should clarify to ensure good order and public trust.
While we are thankful for the judgement delivered by Justice Chan with his astute observations, we have to note that not every accused would have the same determination as Parti to seek justice till the very end or to have the good fortune of having the assistance of a non-government organisation such as HOME and friends who would support him or her regardless of class and financial standing.
This is something that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law must publicly and thoroughly investigate, failing which could damage the reputation of the justice system in Singapore.
Apart from the potential failings of the various Government agencies, concerns about the compliance of the mainstream media has also been raised. Former senior Straits Times correspondent Goh Eng Yeow has taken the mainstream media to task for not asking“more probing questions” of those in power, seemingly offering “flattering coverage” and taking “whatever these people say at face value”.
It is noteworthy that the public has demonstrated its support for Parti. A fundraiser launched online by local NGO, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) on behalf of Parti has raised over $28,000 and met its target within a day.
Authorities could find itself the object of public outrage if it does not investigate this seriously. However, are they aware about public sentiments? Looking at what the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong , Ho Ching had to say about Liew Mun Hoong, could it be that the establishment is truly out of touch?
In a Facebook post on 7 August, Ho had cited a quote from an American author Zig Ziglar and praised Liew’s belief in “building people”. It is noteworthy that this was after Parti had already filed her complaints with the MOM about how the Liew household had breached MOM rules. Had Ho assumed that Liew was not guilty without a second thought? Did his social standing have anything to do with it? If so, is Ho representative of the ruling classes’ woeful disconnect?
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief, Dr Chee Soon Juan has renewed his calls for a proper pavement to be constructed in Bukit Batok in a bid to prevent accidents. According to reports, Chee had witnessed several incidents where cars were driving uncomfortably close to pedestrians along Bukit Batok Block 190 due to absence of a proper footpath.
Apparently, this has been brought to the attention of People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Batok SMC, Murali Pillai, to no avail.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the business of Brexit continues as British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson issues a one sided deadline of 15 October 2020 for a Brexit deal to be concluded without details of how this could be effectively carried out.
Despite initial hopes of a coronavirus vaccine, the World Health Organisation has sounded caution by saying that it did not expect widespread immunisation against the novel coronavirus until mid-2021, tempering hopes just as research revealed encouraging early results from a Russian vaccine.
As campaigning for the US Presidential elections heat up, concerns have been raised about the use of doctored social media images to create polarising divisions.
Top ten read articles in the past week
- One expat asks who’ll pay rent for condos if all FTs leave while another says not their mistake to flood IT sector
- Ho Ching lambasted by netizens for praising former CapitaLand’s chief executive Liew Mun Leong of “building people”, after the case of Parti Liyani
- Piyush Gupta was still a foreigner when he received CEO appointment letter from DBS
- No Indian universities among world’s top 100 but NUS and NTU top 2 in Asia
- Troubling facts of how the Police and Attorney General’s Chambers dealt with the case of Parti Liyani
- WP’s Jamus Lim hits back at PM Lee for calling opposition “free riders”
- We thank the Prime Minister for alerting us to the presence of free riders in our midst
- Seven from the PAP take on one Jamus Lim – is this a sign of things to come?
- PAP ministers are a pathetic lot who cry in Parliament when confronted with the ugly truth of their incompetence, says PV chief Lim Tean
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