“Come what may, we will always be there with you, for you,” promised Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong to a full convention hall of Singaporean workers and union leaders at the NTUC May Day Rally this Monday morning (May 1), promising continued support from him and the PAP Government’s 4G team.
In particular, DPM Wong outlined that Singapore remains poised to seize opportunities and growth through investing in connectivity infrastructure and deepening innovation.
He also promised that the PAP Government and the NTUC will strengthen tripartism and their symbiotic partnership to improve the lives of workers and keep Singapore socially cohesive.
Connectivity and innovation are opportunities
“Each time we were pushed to the limit, we did not fold and crumble,” said DPM Wong about the track record of Singaporeans when faced with adversity.
“Instead, we gritted our teeth, worked even harder to defy the odds, and bounced back stronger,” he detailed, mentioning how challenges like the post-independence British military withdrawal, multiple oil and financial crises and fractious water negotiations all became opportunities for Singapore’s development.
Now, Singapore has a cohesive and united people as well as a high trust society; these are girded by stable politics and a system that works.
Together, these let Singapore successfully navigate the pandemic and have it enhance our reputation as a reliable business hub — and are why the Changi T5 and Tuas Port projects are pressing on ahead.
“These will significantly enhance our capacity and reinforce our status as a business and logistics hub,” explained DPM Wong.
For proof: Multinationals like VF Corporation are anchoring their Asia and global supply chain operations here, and logistics companies like UPS have invested in cold chain infrastructure to manage more healthcare shipments like vaccines for the next inevitable pandemic.
“Another strategy is to deepen our capabilities for innovation,” continued the DPM.
This ties in with NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng concurrently setting up an innovation culture in NTUC which equips workers for the fast-changing world.
Where the PAP Government is concerned, this strategy means continued investment in research and development. And we are partnering giants in consumer goods (think Procter & Gamble and their many wares from shampoo to diapers) and semi-conductors (think United Microelectronics Corporation and their chips for smartphone and electric vehicles).
“If we continue to focus on our strengths and capabilities, and find ways to provide value to the world, we can continue to earn a good living,” said DPM Wong.
Refreshing the social compact with Singapore’s workers
Beyond opportunities, the PAP Government is reviewing how best to refresh SkillsFuture and continuously reskill and upskill workers so that no Singaporean is left behind. It is also looking at how to narrow wage gaps, professionalise skilled trades like plumbing, keep public housing affordable and ensure retirement adequacy.
This is part of the PAP refreshing its compact with Singapore’s workers, and is alongside the NTUC using its #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations for similar progress.
“This is what we stand for. The Government will always strive for a fairer and more equal society. And for the well-being of every worker — that conviction is in our DNA; it’s in the DNA of both the PAP and the NTUC,” said DPM Wong.
“So long as we continue to work together, keep faith with one another, we will achieve our shared goals.”
Indeed, tripartism and the PAP-NTUC partnership are the “secret recipe” for Singapore’s longstanding competitive advantage.
Other countries do not have this.
Unions and the government of the day are at loggerheads, with worker strikes and riots occasionally paralysing the economy, leading to as Secretary-General Ng noted, “lose-lose outcomes”.
A symbiotic relationship and the 4G team’s commitment
“We share the same objectives — to improve the lives of workers and Singaporeans, to promote economic growth for all, and ensure social cohesion and stability,” added DPM Wong, noting that workers and unions have supported the PAP through good times and bad.
“And the PAP, in turn, works closely with the NTUC to implement pro-worker laws and policies, and ensures that NTUC has the resources to look after our workers.”
This symbiotic partnership will remain strong even through the dark times ahead.
“The 4G team and I are fully committed to our partnership with the NTUC and Labour Movement: To working closely with you and to secure sustained growth and good jobs for all Singaporeans,” pledged DPM Wong.