Singapore should reward competence, not paper qualifications: President Halimah , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Singapore should reward competence, not paper qualifications: President Halimah

The Republic needs to commit to recognising and rewarding competence and not just paper qualifications, said President Halimah Yacob on Thursday.

Said Madam Halimah in her recorded year-end message on Facebook: “We still attach low value to work that may be highly skilled and important to the economy, but does not require a degree. We need to change this.”

She added that employers can do much more to change their hiring practices and provide better training and career progression pathways for workers without degrees.

Madam Halimah expressed further hopes for the New Year, wishing for Singaporeans to remain united despite the extreme polarisation tearing other societies apart and - in some cases - leading to violence.

She said: “We have worked very hard to maintain our diversity and stay cohesive through mutual respect and understanding of each other. Let’s focus on what we have in common rather than on what can divide us.”

She also urged Singaporeans to continue supporting those with mental health issues and people with disabilities.

She added that more should be done for caregivers, who silently carry a heavy burden.

Said Madam Halimah: “I have met many caregivers who worry about the welfare of their dependants once they are gone. Many also worry about their own sustenance as they grow old and have no savings or other family members to support them.

“They should not carry the burden alone.”

Reflecting on 2022, which saw rising inflation amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the long tail-end of the Covid-19 pandemic, Madam Halimah credited Singapore’s vaccination programme for allowing its borders to open and restrictions to ease, boosting its economy.

She said: “This helped our economy to grow by 3.5 per cent this year, driven in part by the recovery in our tourism, aviation and consumer-facing sectors.”

But such growth is unlikely to continue in the year ahead, she added.

She said: “We expect growth in most major economies to moderate, with sharp slowdowns projected in the US and Eurozone.

“However, significant uncertainties and downside risks in the global economy remain, including further escalations in the Ukrainian war and geopolitical tensions among major global powers.”

In this environment, the Singapore economy is expected to grow by a slower 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent next year, she said.

Madam Halimah added that inflation and global uncertainties impacting Singapore have caused some concern among Singaporeans, despite a strong labour market.

To help lower-income households the Government provided a $1.5 billion support package last June.

This year’s President’s Challenge also focused on supporting lower-income families, and worked with many social service agencies to reach out to families in need, said Madam Halimah.

Ending her message, the President also asked Singaporeans to stay safe and cautious as far as Covid-19 is concerned.

She said: “I wish one and all a healthy, peaceful and happy New Year.”

2022 Year End Message

2022 has been a very eventful year. The COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, high inflation and climate change are some defining events. As we usher in 2023, I hope that Singaporeans will remain united, despite the extreme polarisations that we see occurring in many parts of the world that are tearing societies apart. I also hope to see a stronger commitment to recognise and reward competence and not just paper qualifications, and for Singaporeans to continue supporting caregivers, those with mental health issues and persons with disabilities. Do continue to stay safe, and be cautious as the COVID-19 virus remains infectious. I wish one and all a healthy, peaceful and Happy New Year.

Posted by Halimah Yacob on Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Halimah YacobNew Year's DaySingapore