Some concrete ideas finally but no coherent plan
By Leong Mun Wai
Some concrete ideas were alluded in Chan Chun Sing’s speech yesterday but they still lacked a coherent plan. Maybe the incumbent are keeping the best for Heng Swee Keat’s address in a few days’ time? So let’s be patient.
Chan Chun Sing’s presentation (and my responses as detailed below) also did not give us the confidence that he had a thorough understanding of the issues at hand.
1. Few Singaporeans would disagree that we have to keep our country open to trade. Besides our people, the only natural advantage we have is our geographic location and the deep sea port. We are all for the signing of more free trade agreements (FTAs) provided they do not allow the uncontrolled entry of foreigners into our country to replace the jobs of our locals.
2. Increasing jobs is our top priority now, so creating 100,000 jobs in the healthcare, early childhood education, transport, financial services and info-comm technology is a welcome move. However there is no mention of how we are going to recoup some of the jobs lost to the foreign PMETs. Hopefully this will be looked into by the Job Centres he said would be set up in all the towns soon.
3. Investing more in the digital infrastructure is good but has been long overdue. He mentioned the successful computerisation and automation carried out by the government in the 1990s which was based on mainframe technology. So why has it taken so long for this present government to get its act together on digital technology? Many of us would remember the ‘Singapore One Initiative’ national digital platform project launched at the turn of the century which fizzled out without any official explanation as to what happened to it.
It would have been so much more inspiring if Chan Chun Seng had delivered his speech in front of some kind of futuristic digital concept rather than the port. After all, although our prosperity began with the port, our future depends on new concept and technology.
4. Giving our students overseas exposure through programs like the ‘Global Ready Talent Program’ and the ‘70-by-70 MOE Initiative’ is commendable. However it is equally important to create a conducive start-up environment in our country. Skills must be matched with opportunities before it becomes of real value. Along the same thought, we consider the SkillsFuture as being an ineffective scheme because it does not match skills with jobs.
5. The Pioneer and Merdeka generations have indeed worked very hard to build up Singapore. However those generations have become successful by being followers of the West and the MNCs who had proven business models. Singapore’s current and future generation cannot stay competitive by just being followers. There is a necessity to step up to become innovators and this has proven to be a major challenge for our country.
However we think this challenge can be overcome with proper policy support and incentives and we look forward to that in the speeches of the next two ministers.
2. 增加工作岗位是我们现在的重中之重，因此在医疗保健，幼儿教育，交通，金融服务和信息通信技术方面创造十万个工作岗位是可喜的举动。但是，没有提及我们将如何从外国人PMET那边拿回一些我们失去的工作，立即分配给我们的PMET。 希望在不久将在所有城镇设立的就业中心将对此进行检讨。
3. 在数码技术的基础建设上进行更多投资是好的，但为何等到现在才有这样的觉悟。他提到了1990年代政府基于大型机技术成功进行的计算机化和自动化。那么，为什么现任政府这么长时间才在数码技术上采取行动呢？我们许多人都会记得以前的“One Singapore”数码平台计划，在没有任何官方解释的情况下，不了了之。
4. 值得赞扬的是，我们通过“Global Ready Talent”和“ 教育部的70-70”等计划为学生提供了海外见习机会。但是，我国需要建立更好的创新和创业环境跟这些人才对接，才能创造真正的价值。出于同样的想法，我们认为SkillsFuture计划因为没有把技术和工作对接所以是无效的计划。
5. 建国一代和立国一代确实为建立新加坡付出了巨大的努力。但是，这些世代是通过成为西方和拥有成熟商业模式的跨国公司的追随者，从而取得了成功。新加坡的今世后代不能仅做追随者而能继续发展。这一代人别无选择，一定要成为创新者。 这也是我们国家所面临的重大挑战。
The author of the above article writes in his own capacity with his views and opinion only to himself and are in no way a representation of the Party.