Tuesday 21 April 2015

Government will work for all Singaporeans no matter who they voted for: Tan Chuan-Jin

By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 20 Apr 2015

ALL Singaporeans are meant to benefit from the Government's work, regardless of who they voted for, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan- Jin said yesterday.

During a community visit to Serangoon, he said: "Our work as the Government doesn't stop because it is Aljunied. Every Singaporean matters."

Mr Tan was speaking at a dialogue that wrapped up his visit to the division under the Workers' Party-run Aljunied GRC.

He was asked by some residents when the People's Action Party would return to the constituency, which the opposition party won in the 2011 General Election.

He told them that they have not been forgotten. "It is a democracy, we decide what we want to choose, you decide what you want to choose, for better (or) for worse... I can tell you we endeavour to do our best, no matter the outcome.

"All of you remain Singaporeans. You don't vote for us, but we are here to still continue to provide policies which cut across every division, wherever you are," he told some 100 residents, students and business owners who were at the dialogue.

He said that the aim of government policies is to benefit Singaporeans and Singapore as a society, and pledged that the Government will continue to strengthen its policies.

During the session, Mr Tan also addressed concerns raised by residents, ranging from the availability of eldercare facilities to the use of electric scooters in the neighbourhood.

Asked about his priorities at the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Mr Tan said that he hopes all Singaporeans will pitch in to help the less fortunate.

"If they have problems, let us know... The moment we think that this is a job for social workers (only), I think we have lost our part in society to care for others," he said.

Mr Tan, who also holds the Manpower portfolio until May 4, when he hands over to Mr Lim Swee Say, joined the MSF earlier this month.

At the end of his visit, he told reporters that he received a "very warm" reception from the residents there.

"There are, of course, usual local issues, some are municipal issues, which I guess is something the town council needs to settle, but nothing peculiar... I get that in my own ward as well," said the Marine Parade GRC MP.

He said that community visits are a good opportunity to meet people and hear their thoughts and views, and said the visit to Serangoon is not his first to Aljunied GRC.

Over the past two years, he has also been to Kovan and Hougang Mall, and attended a Serangoon North National Day dinner.

"We continued visiting... not because it is a general election or anything coming. We continue to keep our ears to the ground, working with our advisers who are here," said Mr Tan.

Also at the event were People's Association special adviser Lim Boon Heng and the event's organising chairman Chan Hui Yuh.

When asked by reporters about the PAP's election strategy for Aljunied GRC, Mr Tan said that the Government's work continues whether or not there are elections.

Without giving away much, he said: "As for elections, we know it is going to come at some point, so strategy-wise, I guess we have to work that out. But our responsibilities as a government don't change."

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/govt-will-work-for-the/1794154.htmlOver the past few years, I have taken...
Posted by Tan Chuan-Jin on Sunday, April 19, 2015

Govt initiatives can help ensure opportunities for S’poreans: Chuan-Jin
By Neo Chai Chin, TODAY, 20 Apr 2015

Queried by younger Singaporeans about the disparity in job opportunities available to graduates from various universities amid the Government’s push for multiple pathways to success, outgoing Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday spoke about factors the Government tries to balance as he assured them of exciting opportunities here.

While acknowledging that graduates from autonomous and private universities are differentiated for some jobs, Mr Tan — who will hand over the manpower portfolio to Mr Lim Swee Say in a fortnight — said this is because of the difference in standards among universities.

The authorities are looking to make available some information on employment outcomes, he added, at an 80-minute dialogue with about 170 residents that wrapped up his ministerial community visit to Serangoon division yesterday. He noted that in places such as Taiwan and South Korea, many people have degrees but not all are able to find jobs.

In Singapore, the Government is taking steps to blur the lines between polytechnic and university graduates in the public sector, said Mr Tan. In other jobs, paper qualifications slowly matter less over time.

Also weighing in on the issue was former Cabinet Minister Lim Boon Heng, who was another panellist at the dialogue. Mr Lim, who is special adviser to the chairman of the People’s Association board, said that not every degree is the same. “We don’t like ranking ... but private organisations rank universities and this ranking is available, so employers do look at ranking of universities,” he said.

The rankings serve as a way to sift through a list of applicants without other information about how the applicant would perform in the job, but those who “lose out” at first can succeed later if they work hard and apply their minds to their work — as many of the older generation did, said Mr Lim.

Mr Tan said the SkillsFuture initiative to help Singaporeans master skills throughout their lives will help in the pursuit of different pathways.

Companies in Singapore create opportunities for workers and many find the workforce here hardworking, capable and cosmopolitan. “We want to not only create the opportunities for the jobs, we want to equip ourselves for the jobs,” said Mr Tan.

Other participants in the dialogue spoke about challenges in finding skilled labour. Mr Tan, who is also the Minister for Social and Family Development, said certain decisions, such as the building of two integrated resorts, were taken at a time of uncertainty about economic growth drivers, and the government began tightening manpower policies around 2010.

Foreign manpower numbers are still growing but at a slower pace; having zero growth would hurt Singaporeans and small and medium companies, he said. Foreigners supplement the pool of manpower and skills here, helping local companies to manage costs and keep their competitiveness, he said, noting that Singaporeans face competition from outside the Republic.

Mr Tan also said it is impossible for policymakers to make everyone happy with every policy, and called on Singaporeans to give and take.

The nation displayed the best of what it could be as a people recently when it mourned the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, said Mr Tan, who urged people not to care only about their own backyard.

Every Singaporean can play a part in helping less privileged: Chuan-Jin
By Neo Chai Chin, TODAY, 20 Apr 2015

Every Singaporean can play a part in helping the less privileged, instead of leaving the task solely to social workers and mental health officers, said new Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Tan Chuan-Jin.

Mr Tan, who took over the portfolio this month from Mr Chan Chun Sing, was asked about his areas of focus at the MSF during a dialogue in Serangoon division yesterday. “The moment we think that this job is for social workers and (is none of our business), I think we’ve lost our part in society to care for others,” said Mr Tan, who was on a ministerial community visit.

He urged the audience at a dialogue to talk to the elderly and low-income in their midst. Many members of the public feel angry about low-income Singaporeans working in old age, but “how many of us actually stop to talk to old people”, he questioned.

By reaching out to the elderly, the public can also alert the authorities should they learn of any problems others are facing, he said.

“When we learn to care for others, I think we reconnect with our values. Who we are as human beings is compassion, love, empathy. I think if we want to be a great nation, it’s about values.”

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