Two PAP wings offer recommendations for Budget debates


THE People's Action Party (PAP) youth wing and the party's policy forum have penned a position paper that aims to generate input for the upcoming Budget 2017 debates in parliament.

The document, released by Young PAP (YP) and the PAP Policy Forum (PPF), contains recommendations that it hopes the government will consider.

The suggestions cover the areas of enhancing the employability and competitiveness of Singaporeans in a "challenging economic climate" where competition is global and cycles of change are growing shorter.

Released on Thursday, the 10-page paper has recommendations to help four main groups of people here - students, young adults and new workers, mid-career professionals and the silver generation.

The paper stated that students could benefit from a "dynamic, more generalist" school syllabus that imparts soft skills. There should be an emphasis on career diversity and the opportunity to do internships from the time they are in secondary school.

For new workers, it recommends expanding the Industry Scholarship Scheme and helping more industry bodies create an eco-system of accreditation for skills and specialisation.

Mid-career professionals, meanwhile, should get more support to pave the way for the development of a regional and global workforce and leaders.

This would be in addition to the Leadership Development Initiative under the national SkillsFuture programme, which is focused on employers.

The purpose would be to give this group of workers more support in the form of relocation allowances, CPF top-ups and matching contributions, and training for those who are seconded; there also needs to be greater resources offered to displaced PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) so they get customised guidance.

As for the silver generation, the paper suggested giving incentives to encourage companies to re-design jobs for the increasingly ageing workforce, and to set up a new fund to provide both venture and social capital for silver enterprises.

The YP and PPF said that their position paper signified a PAP activist-led ground-up initiative that was conducted over the last four months and crafted in response to challenges faced by Singaporeans today.

PPF council chairman Benjamin Tay said that the paper reflects a "positive cooperation" between different wings of the party, working together for the benefit of Singaporeans.

"We hope that these suggestions will be taken into measure when the government decides on Budget 2017 so Singapore continues to be exceptional and ensures fellow Singaporeans continue to remain competitive and employable," he said.

The PPF was set up in 2004 to give rank-and-file members of the PAP a platform to engage government leaders on policy issues. Each of the party's 87 branches elects two members to the forum. In addition, there are 10 members each from the Women's Wing and the YP.

YP organising secretary Rahul Shah spoke of the "thought-provoking and enriching" process to see PAP activists young and old offer changes in the policy-making process. The YP is for those aged between 17 and 40.


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