Fortitude Budget welcomed, but anxieties remain
Over $500 million will be set aside by the Government to help in the digital transformation of companies, and while assistant manager Joshua Foong said the shift is inevitable, he wondered if the accelerated pace of change will displace workers who are not technologically-inclined.
Mr Foong, 27, an economics graduate from the National University of Singapore, told The New Paper yesterday: "There will be resistance from those who are older and you can't really blame them for it. They may not have the same familiarity as the younger generation towards both digital technology and the pace at which it evolves."
The sum set aside for digital transformation is part of the $33 billion Fortitude Budget Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in Parliament on Tuesday - the fourth budget of the year as Singapore grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic fallout.
Member of Parliament, Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC), welcomed the move to bolster job retention and job creation, although she said Singaporeans' continued fears over employment are to be expected.
She said: "Before the fourth Budget, I received e-mails from residents expressing their concerns over employment issues. Some had lost their jobs while some were worried if they would be able to keep their jobs in the next couple of months.
"The Fortitude Budget will give good assistance for businesses but there are still the main concerns of job security and employment. Business owners are still worried over the sustainability of their businesses at this time.
"But workers recognise that there isn't a magic switch (to allay these concerns overnight). Getting businesses back on track will be slow."
"Especially with the push for digital transformation, some are worried if their jobs will be replaced by technology. A digital transformation may also mean the displacement of (some) jobs."
Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah said the road to recovery will be long and hard, even with support measures in place.
She backed the Government's push to help businesses and the move to save jobs and create new ones, but added: "There will be more people seeking help as the crisis drags on. The Government should monitor and step in to help more if needed."
Madam Mary Sim, 60, a caretaker, and her husband, who works in construction, earn about $2,000 a month.
Their son, 23, a polytechnic graduate, and daughter, 25, who has a degree in early childhood education, have been job-hunting since January, and the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package announced on Tuesday to create close to 100,000 job and training opportunities was a fillip for them.
Madam Sim said: "Now with this new support package, I hope my children will be able to find jobs."