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PM Lee: “Serious consequences” if number of foreign workers not controlled

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has assured Singaporeans “we are all in this together” when it comes to facing future challenges.

“We will find a new way to thrive in this new environment… we must make now a strategic shift in our approach to nation building,” he said at the National Day Rally speech last night.

Lee added the local government will continue supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore, and addressed industry challenges around manpower shortages. In particular, Lee said there is a need to control the number of foreign workers, which is still currently on the rise.

He cautioned there will be “serious consequences” if the number of foreign workers are left unchecked, but added the government will help SMEs “find a way to make it”.

“The foreign worker issue is complex and the government cannot meet all the demands. There is no perfect solution, but we will definitely help SMEs find a way to make it,” Lee said.

He added Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Teo Ser Luck, has also been meeting with business representatives to figure out other ways to extend support to SMEs through an industry-led committee.

Lee reiterated while there are several schemes and grants SMEs can benefit from, companies may not be aware of them.

Therefore, Chan Chong Beng, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, told The Straits Times: The grants do not have legs and will not walk to the SMEs, so the firms have to help themselves too.”

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