About Me

My photo
I am a Practitioner of 'The 7e Way of Leaders' where a Leader will Envision, Enable (ASK for TOP D), Empower, Execute, Energize, and Evolve grounded on ETHICS!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Daily Lessons from Life 25-26 January 2016 - MPs debate help for SMEs and low-wage workers

"MPs debate help for SMEs and low-wage workers - CNA 26 Jan 2016

SINGAPORE: The second day of the parliamentary debate on the President's address saw several Members of Parliament speaking on challenges brought about by a fast-changing world, and what Singapore must do to survive and remain exceptional.

The question on the minds of many in the House was how Singapore can remain plugged into the new world, as it embarks on the next chapter of its economic story.

Making his maiden speech, MP for Nee Soon GRC Henry Kwek proposed ways to grow the future economy. For instance, he suggested giving ample opportunities for Singapore-based businesses and start-ups to grow.

He explained: "Try putting a food-truck on side of any road in Singapore. You know that you would have to apply a permit for every separate location you put it at? But is this really necessary?”

Also speaking up for enterprises was new office holder Dr Koh Poh Koon, who touched on the need to transform small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and support entrepreneurs. He said the firms need to pursue growth through innovation and internationalisation.
He cited the example of local online start-up ShopBack, which is built on the premise of giving cash back to its online shoppers. Within a span of 18 months, the company has expanded to Indonesia and the Philippines, with over 400,000 regional users.
However, Dr Koh noted that the company's initial proposal for Government funding had been rejected, and he urged the Government to rethink the way entrepreneurs are supported.

“Will over-supportive policies stifle the fighting spirit and the desire to succeed, much like how over-watering a plant kills it? How do we calibrate the relationship between Government and industry to ensure the optimal amount of intervention and creative tension exist?” Dr Koh added.
MPs also raised concerns on the challenges faced by workers and what needs to be done to protect and prepare them for the new economy. Groups that were highlighted include freelancers or contract workers, PMETs, as well as low-income workers.
“It was a laudable move in 2012 when the NWC made specific recommendations to help low-wage workers. Unfortunately, many workers in non-unionised companies and those working in outsourced industries still have not received the recommended dollar quantum increase,” said MP Mr Zainal.
The cleaning, security and landscape sectors have all embarked on the Progressive Wage Model, designed to boost the pay of low-wage workers through training and enhanced productivity."

For me a few things need to be balanced:

1. mind-set change of the SMEs - the BEST equipment, processes, systems, structures, etc. etc. WILL need HIGH QUALITY PEOPLE to operating them. Period. No doubt about this. So, focused on developing the employees you have is the most reliable way to make sure that the grants provided by the governments, if any, will pay back big time!;

2. mind-set of the GLC-, TLC- and NTUC-linked companies also must changed to move to the next level of 'fishing in the big blue ocean' instead of the 'little pond' in the Little Red Dot and crowding out the SMEs! This will be difficult as they are so accustomed to getting businesses from within their own circle! If there is one exception that is good for the public would be NTUC-linked companies as they are, while profitable, are helping to keep some of the essential stuffs (FairPrice) and services (Income) costs low!;

3. given that 70-80% of workers are hired by our SMEs, the reluctance to pay 'reasonable wages', or 'progressive wage', or just call the spade a spade, 'minimal wage' WILL always be there IF the SME bosses are JUST not making enough money for themselves, or they simply WANT to keep MORE of the PROFIT to themselves while paying the workers lower than 'reasonable wage'? For low wage workers, their destiny is NOT really in their hands as they normally just get the 'job of last resort where nobody want it' and also hampered by their low skills. This dilemma is still present despite the talk of 'upskilling the job like from a manual cleaner to a mechanised cleaner that use motorised equipment, etc. to do their cleaning job'!

If you talk about 'security', it is really a case of 'having a body there is better than NOT having a body there' situation in most condominiums with the security companies' bosses driving fancy cars and wearing big gold chains!

No comments: