For Immediate Release
Dated: 29 October 2014
1. On 28 October 2014, the Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin was the guest of honour at the Singapore Dialogue with 30 leading members of the Indian Business-leaders’ Roundtable (IBR). The minister engaged these leading businessmen and corporate executives on Singapore’s employment and manpower landscape.
2. The Singapore Dialogue Series creates a networking environment for senior Indian professional members from the business community to meet one another as well as meet Singapore government leaders. The IBR was formed by the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) to enable SINDA to benefit from their advice, leverage on their connections and generally support SINDA in its wider mission of uplifting the community. 3. The dialogue series, into its fourth year, covered a range of issues such as job generation, economic growth and organisational restructuring, among others. In his opening remarks, Minister Tan highlighted the challenges that lay ahead for Singaporeans in the near future such as sustaining economic growth, increasing productivity and Singapore’s positioning in comparison to other countries.
4. Mr Girija Pande, Chairman of IBR and moderator at the dialogue, brought up the topic of sunrise and sunset industries in Singapore and how they could be better protected by manpower policies. Minster Tan said that to tackle such challenges, the government would be working with these industries to recommend alternative growth opportunities. He also added that government agencies constantly work on identifying growth in different sectors of the economy to better fuel manpower demands.
5. At the heart of the discussion was the perennial challenge of hiring and retaining local talent across different sectors, particularly in labour-intensive industries and SMEs. An increasing difficulty in recruiting Singaporeans for blue-collar positions was a sentiment largely echoed by members present. Minister Tan acknowledged this issue, stating that Singaporeans in general were largely aiming to attain better upward social mobility especially by pursuing higher education, resulting in many of them not wanting to work in professions deemed “unfavourable”.
He added that this matter could be solved over time, through better social outreach and education. The transformation in Singapore’s education landscape has seen the country moving beyond academics, as more pathways are created to cater to individuals who might be more talented in non academic fields or vocational skills.
6. Members also called for better transparency in the way permanent residency (PR) was issued to foreign professionals who wanted to make Singapore their home. Minister Tan shared that though there was increasing trend of foreigners wanting to settle in Singapore, the government was always careful on striking a balance. Factors such as period of stay, financial status and their contributions to the economy were critical factors that are considered when such decisions are made.
7. Closing the dialogue, Minister Tan noted IBR members’ significant contributions to the Indian community through SINDA and urged members to not only contribute through financial means, but to also be actively involved in SINDA beneficiaries’ lives and to make a personal impact.
8. The dialogue was held at M Hotel, Singapore and pprevious dialogues as part of this series have been held with Singapore leaders such as DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
In February 2011, SINDA established a new high-powered group – the Indian Business Leaders’ Roundtable (IBR), consisting of respected Indian business leaders in Singapore. IBR is the first formal body through which newly arrived senior Indian business leaders and professionals based in Singapore are brought together, to contribute their expertise, networks and advice to the local community. Together with funding academic and financial needs, the members and spouses of the group actively contribute their time and energy to various SINDA programmes.
The Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) is a Self-Help Group, set up in August 1991 to address educational and socio-economic issues facing the Indian community in Singapore. SINDA actively strives to build a well-educated and confident community of Indians that stands together with the other communities in contributing to the progress of multi-racial Singapore. In the course of fulfilling its objectives, SINDA works closely with many volunteers, schools and grassroots organisations. In the process, SINDA has steadily evolved into a credible organisation that serves as a pillar of the Singapore Indian community. Today, SINDA runs a wide array of programmes that not only effectively serves to uplift the educational performance of Indian students, but also promotes family harmony and uplifts the social status of ethnic Indians. Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, is Chairman of SINDA’s Board of Trustees. Miss Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, is President of the Executive Committee.
For more information on SINDA, visit the website – www.sinda.org.sg
Naseema Begum (Ms)
Corporate & Marketing Communications Division, SINDA
DID: 6393 7296
Mobile: 9726 1938
Dhanasegaran N (Mr)
Corporate & Marketing Communications Division, SINDA
DID: 6393 7222
Mobile: 9006 5922