President Halimah Yacob says S’poreans made of “sterner stuff” — but will MOM’s move to allow work pass holders be a test of S’poreans’ resilience?

In her New Year message yesterday (29 December), President Halimah Yacob said that Singapore needs “all hands on deck” to overcome the present pandemic crisis and to build a better future for generations to come.

She also said she is confident that Singaporeans were up to the task, noting that the people have shown time and again to be made of sterner stuff, with crises strengthening them and making them even more resilient.

Halimah said, “We now have to reassess the way we organise our lives, work and businesses as there is no going back to the pre-Covid-19 period. But there are also opportunities.”

“Covid-19 has accelerated the use of technology, and long-term challenges such as climate change have gained a new impetus. Countries are using the opportunity to reshape their recovery towards a more green and sustainable economy.”

She said that with concerted efforts, a full recovery of Singapore’s economy may take one or two years. “We must continue to make critical investments in our infrastructure and skills development so that we can continue to attract new investments and create new jobs,” she added.

In November, the President approved the injection of an extra S$8 billion in COVID-19 support. Up to S$52 billion have been drawn from the reserves.

Halimah also thanked healthcare professionals for their dedication and steadfastness in fighting Covid-19.

“I want to thank all Singaporeans too for your fortitude and forbearance in dealing with the pandemic,” she said. “I wish all Singaporeans a very happy 2021.”

MOM opening up Singapore for foreign work pass holders to return

Meanwhile, it was reported by the media 2 weeks ago (15 December) that the Manpower Ministry has begun “allowing existing work pass holders to return to Singapore”.

MOM said that Singapore now has “more room” to accommodate the entry of work pass holders to ease the manpower shortage, citing Singapore’s “stable” COVID-19 situation, “strong public health measures” and testing capacity.

Previously, the ministry said it was processing new work pass applications from countries with lower health risks such as China. It is now processing applications from all approved source countries.

Indeed, not only MOM is diligently helping to get foreign work pass holders back to Singapore to work, other Singapore government agencies like EDB and MTI are trying to help too as revealed by a foreign expat in the “Getting Back Home to SG” Facebook group:

Halimah may think that crises faced during the pandemic have made Singaporeans resilient. But will the people be equally resilient in the face of job competition from work pass holders, whether existing or new?

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