ASG Francis Yuen weighs in on Tech.Pass

On 28th January, The Independent Singapore interviewed the Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) Assistant Secretary-General Francis Yuen on his views on the Government’s Tech.Pass scheme. Here is the video of the interview, and a short excerpt on what was discussed

On Tech.Pass talent, Francis said that the talent coming in should not compete with our own locals, who may or may not have been given the same chance. He suggested that talent be brought in to become stakeholders in companies to help raise local companies.

Francis: ““It’s not for them to come and compete with our locals who can do the job. Unless they are really that calibre of people that we do not have”

According to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Tech.Pass will be valid for two years in the first instance and allows the holder to:

  1. Start and operate one or more tech companies
  2. Be an employee in one or more Singapore-based companies at any time
  3. Transit between employers or to an entrepreneur
  4. Be a consultant or mentor, lecture in local institutions of higher learning, or be an investor and director in one or more Singapore based companies
  5. Sponsor stay for spouse, children, and parents in Singapore on either a Dependant’s Pass (DP) or a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) issued by MOM
  6. Renew for another two years, upon meeting renewal criteria

In order to fill the gap and help SMEs here, Francis suggested that high-caliber technical talent be brought in to work hand-in-hand with local entrepreneurs. We should “bring them in as entre-partners”, so that they can help level-up local entrepreneurs in terms of technology, so that “our entrepreneurs can branch out overseas, in the region.” Our priority should be on our local local and talent in the SMEs. We need to build up our Singaporean Core.

Francis was asked: “What exactly do you think is lacking in Singapore today”

“What we need, rather than lack, is a strong system to manage the regulations put in place”, he said.

“At the same time, what we need really is to — aside from keeping the pandemic at bay, which we are making progress — is to see how we can free up economic activities”, he added.

“It is not just about building the infrastructure here, which we seem to be doing a lot of, but it is about rebuilding the businesses in Singapore, particularly the SMEs”, Francis said.

In Singapore, SMEs are a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, contributing 48% of its GDP, employing about 65% of its work force and constituting 99% of all its enterprises.

We need greater transparency in the way Work Pass and Employment passes are allocated. The Government needs to rationalise the impact of such schemes before introducing another such as TechPass.

There is fear that new jobs that are created in IT, Bio-Tech, Pharmaceuticals and financial companies are disproportionately allocated to foreigners. The introduction of Tech.Pass gives us no confidence that the Governement has the best interests of the PMETS that are working in Singapore.

According to the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and an opinion poll, business sentiment among SMEs in Singapore has eased off its record low, but firms are still expected to hold off expansion and capital investments for the first half of 2021.

We thank The Independent for allowing us to republish their article and video which was posted here:

Find out more about the team driving the Progress Singapore Party

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