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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on strengthening Singaporean core in 'triple weak' companies

Notice paper no. 347 of 2016 for the sitting on 10 Oct 2016

Question no. 595 for oral answer

MP: Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether he can provide an update on the Ministry’s drive and enforcement in strengthening the Singaporean core including the scrutiny of triple weak companies.

  1. We are taking a two-pronged approach to encourage firms to strengthen their Singaporean core. 
  2. First, in Feb 2016, the Ministry identified about 100 firms for closer scrutiny. These firms did not seem to have made reasonable efforts to provide fair employment opportunities or have had substantiated complaints of discriminatory practices. 
  3. After notifying them and scrutinising them for about six months, about one in five have been assessed by TAFEP and sector agencies to have made significant improvements. Their employment practices are now comparable to their industry peers. They have taken pro-active steps to participate in career fairs and training programmes organised by WDA and e2i. Some have taken the further step to develop in-house programmes for knowledge transfer to Singaporean staff. At the recommendation of TAFEP, MOM no longer subjects these firms to closer scrutiny and their EP applications are being processed as per normal. 
  4. The remaining four in five have shown some progress but MOM will continue to scrutinise their EP applications. As at end September, we have not approved close to 300 EP applications from these firms. We are looking closely at whether they have taken concrete steps to consider Singaporeans fairly for these positions. 
  5. In addition, we have identified around 180 more firms to be placed on closer scrutiny. This will bring the total firms under closer scrutiny to about 250. 
  6. Second, we are identifying firms with exemplary fair and progressive human capital practices for differentiated treatment. MOM is launching a Human Capital Partnership Programme to better support them in nurturing our local manpower and strengthening the complementarity of foreign manpower. This will encourage more firms to follow suit. We are in the process of shortlisting the first batch of these firms, working out the details of further support, and aim to launch the programme later this year.