In an interview with state media Straits Times, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat told retrenched workers to change their job and claimed that the government will “support” them.
“As Singapore restructures its economy, there may be pain for workers in some industries but the Government will support them as they adjust to the new environment. Companies also have to pitch in and work together with their staff and the Government on this effort. This is important as some industries may not do as well as others, and workers affected may need to seek new opportunities elsewhere.”
The Minister poised to be the next Prime Minister role said that this cannot be the sole effort of the government and that the workers and companies have to put in the effort:
“You need the effort of the workers, you need the effort of the companies and you need the government agencies to support it in the right direction.”
Minister Heng Swee Keat said that he is aware that workers are anxious over job security in the near future and told them to “turn anxiety into action” without explaining in details:
“The fact that Singaporeans are concerned is a sign that we are serious people and that we do want to make preparations. We need to turn that anxiety into action that will prepare us better for the future. It is not easy, I appreciate that. But I think if we provide a support system and, if we support one another as fellow workers, as employers, I think we can make the grade.”
Resident unemployment rate hit a 7-year-high of 3%, while job vacancies declined drastically to only 91 per 100 job seekers. The Singapore government however is hesitant to announce a recession until the situation worsen further.