Speech at MOM's National Day Observance Ceremony 2022
Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower, Stephen Riady Auditorium, NTUC Centre
Sister Mary Liew, President of NTUC
Brother Robert Yap, President of SNEF
Brothers and Sisters from our tripartite partners – NTUC and SNEF
Friends from Kinderland
MOM, CPF, WSG, e2i Colleagues
A very good afternoon to all of you and thank you for joining the MOM family for our National Day Observance Ceremony. I am very happy to celebrate this occasion with you in-person.
This year, we celebrate 57 years of independence. The theme for this year’s National Day Celebration is “Stronger Together, Majulah”. “Stronger Together” reminds us that unity in our diversity is what makes us stronger. “Majulah”, or “onward”, is a rallying call for Singaporeans to strive for a better future, and grow from strength to strength as we emerge from COVID-19.
Allow me to share my thoughts on what “Stronger Together, Majulah” means for us here.
Restructuring our workforce to emerge STRONGER
First, I am proud to say that the battle against COVID-19, while arduous has made us Stronger. Last month, we shared that Singapore’s labour market continues to make good progress in tandem with the recovery of our economy. In spite of global headwinds like strong inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions, our labour market has remained resilient.
We must continue to remain vigilant. Singapore is ultimately very tightly integrated to the global economy. Given our small size, we are always a price taker, and we cannot avoid the global headwinds. Like what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the May Day Rally, the fundamental solution is to make ourselves more productive, transform our businesses and grow our economy, so that we can uplift everyone.
Overall, with the support of our tripartite partners, I am confident that we are in good stead to achieve the goals we have set out in the Ministry of Manpower’s Committee of Supply earlier this year.
The first thing, Upgrading the capabilities of our local workforce and complementarity of foreigners,
Two, Uplifting our vulnerable workers and mature workers, and
Thirdly, to Uphold the inclusive and progressive workplace practices.
Tripartism: Working TOGETHER to achieve shared goals
Now secondly, I want to highlight how the tripartite partners have been working Together. Time and again, tripartism has helped us to overcome adversities. Throughout the crisis, Singapore was able to address the many challenging workplace and workforce issues that arose by leveraging the strong partnership and relationships that the tripartite partners have built over the many years.
When we look around the world today, we have seen how it was not been straightforward for countries to get tripartite consensus on crisis measures. This at times has resulted in unrest and protests, and even strikes and work stoppages.
On the other hand, Singapore’s tripartite partners collaborated closely to help workers and businesses navigate the uncertainties and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our efforts extended to several fronts, from safe management measures to responsible retrenchments; from upskilling and job placements, to equipping companies to prepare for the future of work.
No matter the challenges, we never lost sight of our shared purpose to improve workers’ lives and employers’ competitiveness, while aligning our interests with the national objectives of economic and social development. We must never take for granted the 57 years of peaceful industrial relations that Singapore has enjoyed.
This relationship requires constant nurturing and give-and-take from all partners.
Tripartism will also need to evolve to cover new employment models such as the gig economy so that no worker is left behind.
On this National Day, I want and I wish to express my utmost appreciation to our tripartite partners for continually pushing us to do better while also working with us to find ways to achieve win-win-win outcomes. Tripartism will continue to remain important to help us overcome the challenges ahead.
Majulah, FORWARD Singapore!
Thirdly, as we enjoy the peace and prosperity that were built on the hard work of those who came before us, we must do our part to bring Singapore Forward to our children and our children’s children. In the months ahead, the Ministry of Manpower will work with our partners to drive the Economy and Jobs pillar under the Forward Singapore exercise. It is a commitment by the 4G leadership team to partner Singaporeans in refreshing our social compact and building a true society full of opportunities and inclusiveness.
With our partners onboard the ‘Forward Singapore’ ship, let us chart and sail towards a common destination: a society that ‘benefits many, not a few’.
Together, our future as one united Singapore shines even brighter. Happy National Day everyone! Majulah Singapura!