According to Singapore’s election next week, the ruling party’s campaign will focus on job creation, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said.
Singaporeans will vote next Friday, July 10th.
Last week, Prime Minister Li Xian Long announced his decision to call a general election, as the country continues to weaken most of the partial blocking measures aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus.
Balakrishnan, a member of the ruling Popular Action Party, outlined the reasons why the government decided to call an election, despite the fact that the risk of infection may increase again as social interactions resume.
“The first thing I want to do is that we do not believe that this crisis will recede within the next year or maybe even two years. It depends on when the vaccine will be created, ”he said in an interview with Squawk Box Asia. “.
Singapore skyline on March 24, 2020 in Singapore. Singapore does not allow short-term visitors to enter or pass through the country from March 24 to contain the spread of infection.
Suhaymi Abdullah | Getty images
In Singapore, more than 43,000 cases have been reported, and more than 90% of those infected are migrant workers who live in dormitories. These are mainly men from other Asian countries who perform labor-intensive tasks in a city-state.
The second reason, according to Balakrishnan, is that according to the constitution, the term of the current parliament expires in January 2021. “If we do not have parliament in February next year, we will not have a budget,” he said.
He added that with the recovery of the Singapore economy, the country is in a “fairly safe space” where infection is under control and people are returning to work. According to him, holding elections later will be difficult and probably more dangerous.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected more than 10 million people worldwide and killed more than 500,000 people, is both a public health crisis and an economic crisis.
Due to restrictions and severe social constraints, economic activity in most countries has slowed, and a number of sectors, including tourism and tourism, have been seriously affected. Millions of people lost their jobs around the world.
Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Singapore predicted a deeper-than-predicted recession for the city-state, which is highly dependent on international trade. The International Monetary Fund, for its part, has stated that the world is experiencing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Balakrishnan said that the current crisis is undoubtedly a clear and existing threat to life and livelihoods.
“At the center of our campaign will be jobs, jobs, jobs. And jobs for all sectors of our society, ”he said. “People who have just completed their studies are falling into the greatest depression the world has seen, their main concern will be jobs.”
Thousands of young graduates in Singapore and other countries face a weak labor market, where many companies are reluctant to hire new employees due to the negative impact of the crisis on their business this year.
According to Balakrishnan, people between the ages of 40 and 60 are part of a generation that has ongoing commitments and is still facing the dire consequences of economic restructuring.
The goal of the Singapore National Employment Council is to create 100,000 job opportunities, including jobs, investments and the intern’s opportunities are next year, the minister said.
“We think that because of the long-term nature of this crisis, there will be reductions, a failure in the employment sector. And that is precisely why we are so obsessively focused on the employment situation, ”Balakrishnan said.
He added that the bulk of Singapore’s budget incentives of $ 100 billion (about $ 70.4 billion) was aimed at keeping firms afloat and encouraging them to hire Singaporeans.
The PAP has been the ruling party in Singapore since 1959, even before the country’s independence in 1965. In the last election in 2015, the Popular Action Party received 69.9% of the total number of votes, receiving 83 out of 89 disputed seats.