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Speech at KPMG 75th Anniversary Dinner

Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, St Regis Hotel Singapore

Mr John Veihmeyer

Global Chairman, KPMG International

Mr Tham Sai Choy

Mr Ong Pang Thye

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

  1. I congratulate KPMG Singapore on its 75th Anniversary. 
  2. KPMG Singapore is a 4 “do” company – Do well, do good, do more, do together.
  3. As a business enterprise, KPMG Singapore has done well.
  4. Started in 1941 with the first employee, you now provide good employment to 3000 people.
  5. You help them to progress up their career ladder. You also help them to grow through knowledge transfer and regional exposure.  
  6. You are also a strong advocate for fair and progressive employment practices.
  7. Every month, you measure not just revenue turnover, profits and losses, but staff turnover too, entries and exits.
  8. This is progressive thinking, because people are not just our human resource.
  9. They are our most precious human capital, the biggest asset of any organization, now and in future.
  10. By taking good care of your people wholeheartedly, they in turn take good care of the customers you serve, wholeheartedly too.
  11. This has enabled KPMG Singapore, which started off as an accounting and auditing firm, to co-evolve with changing business needs, growing from strength to strength, to become a leader today in accounting, taxation and advisory.
  12. As a responsible corporate citizen, KPMG Singapore has done good too.
  13. One example is your Inclusive Employment Programme. It empowers less privileged communities through training and work.    
  14. Today, KPMG Singapore is taking another step forward to do more good for a group of workers close to our hearts.
  15. Our lower-wage workers, especially those in the bottom 20 percentile, must continue to receive our extra attention.
  16. The tripartite partners, spearheaded jointly by the NTUC, SNEF and MOM, have introduced various measures to support them.
  17. They range from SRP (Skills Re-development Program) and JRP (Jobs Re-design Program), to WIS (Workfare Income Supplement) and PWM (Progressive Wage Model).
  18. We have also strengthened our NWC Guidelines for low-wage workers in recent years.
  19. These measures are bearing fruit.
  20. Between 2006 to 2010, full-time employed Singaporeans at the 20th percentile had lower % income growth of 2.1%, compared to 2.9% per year at the median.
  21. A gap of almost 1% point.
  22. In the last 5 years, we have closed the gap. With real income growth of 2.9% per year for those at the 20th percentile and 3% per year at the median, the gap has narrowed.
  23. From almost 1% point to 0.1% point. This is an improvement, but we can do more and do better.
  24. We will keep refining and strengthening our support framework for low-wage workers, such as making the PWM even more progressive.
  25. But we need the support of buyers and providers of outsourced services
  26. to speed up the adoption of these progressive practices on the ground.     
  27. I therefore welcome the launch of this ground-up Progressive Wages Pledge by KPMG Singapore, in a Do Together way.
  28. I am encouraged that KPMG is already in discussions with a number of your business associates to also support this initiative.
  29. As buyers of outsourced services, you can help influence the mindset of service providers who employ large numbers of low-wage workers, such as in cleaning, landscaping and security.  
  30. I hope many more companies (everyone here tonight) will come on board.
  31. Sign the Pledge, multiply its impact.
  32. Let us do more good togetherand change the lives of our low-wage workers for the better.
  33. Tonight, KPMG Singapore celebrates a long and rich history of achievements and progress in your business fields, and in the wider community.
  34. Along the way, KPMG Singapore has not only done well for itself, but also for our economy.
  35. You have contributed to Singapore becoming a leading hub for professional services in our region.
  36. Today, our economy is in transition – from one that is manpower-led to one that will be more manpower-lean.
  37. This transformation is necessary as we strive for quality economic growth of 2% to 3% annually in a more sustainable manner, driven by productivity and innovation.
  38. To succeed, we need the pioneers and early adopters of the industry to come forward,
  39. help set the pace and generate the momentum for the early majority to follow suit. 
  40. KPMG Singapore is one of them. 
  41. It has partnered the Economic Development Board to grow 10 Centres of Excellence here. The latest three set up last year cover capabilities in cyber security, international tax and energy trading. Such investments and commitment by KPMG and other leading corporations will help broaden and deepen our indigenous capabilities to help speed up transformation in our industries.
  42. These new capabilities can also be exported to further strengthen our position as a regional hub for professional services.  
  43. On the whole, KPMG Singapore is what MOM calls a “triple strong” employer –
    - strong Singaporean Core today at all levels,
    - strong commitment in nurturing human capital for the future,
    - and strong linkage to our economy.
  44. I look forward to more of such transformative initiatives from KPMG Singapore, and many other industry leaders and partners in all sectors of our economy.
  45. Together, as tripartite partners comprising industry leaders, government agencies, and the labour movement, we can mobilise and support our businesses to transform faster, help our workers to adapt better, and restructure our economy to grow stronger.
  46. Together, we can make sure that our innovation driven growth of the future, will also be an inclusive growth in the future for all our fellow workers, all our people.  
  47. I wish KPMG Singapore many more successful years ahead.
  48. Happy 75th Anniversary.