Because the govt overstated its case when it said that the JCS scheme will save jobs, there are people who actually think that we should wait and see before more is done. We have to jump ahead of the problems instead of waiting otherwise we will risk putting many families under distress. ComCare Hotline is : 1800-222-0000. I hope the govt take up Wee Siew Kim's (yes the father of...) suggestion:
'Please empathise with people who seek assistance and be more sympathetic to those who find themselves in difficult situations,' - Mr Wee Siew Kim, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, 5 Feb 2009[link]
There is talk about no-frills housing for those who cannot afford regular HDB flats. Implementations of additional criteria to 'eliminate' the people who don't need rental housing from the HDB rental queue which has a waiting time of 4 years . After the new criteria is implemented they hope to shorten the queue to 1 year. How do people who need housing but they can't afford it wait for 1 year? If you're destitute and end up at the void deck ...they will probably allow you to jump queue?...But the rest of the needy people? Where do they go? Beg their siblings, relatives for a place?...and if you're sick but have no money?
Instead of many confusing helping hands, there should be one big helping hand starting with the ComCare Helpline. In these times of crisis, help should really be a phone call away.
BTW, did anyone try calling them?
7.2m more Asians to be jobless in 2009
Finance minister quits at bad time for Japan’s economy
Gold hits record on fears of ‘Zimbabwe-isation’ of global economy
Offers lure Singaporean shoppers out
Malaysians last to be retrenched down south
3.5pc growth no longer realistic, Najib admits
Singapore’s exports continue freefall
‘Spectacularly bad’ in Singapore, worse to come
SINGAPORE, Feb 18 – The global recession dealt Singapore a hammer blow in January with exports recording their worst performance in the nation’s history.
Shipments crashed 34.8 per cent – a “spectacularly bad” number, said one economist – and the largest fall since the Government began collating year-on-year figures in 1977.
That meant it even exceeds the previous worst of 30.7 per cent set in September 2001, the month of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
“As with other countries around the region, Singapore is setting the wrong sort of records at present,” said HSBC economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde.
OCBC economist Selena Ling added: “The numbers are spectacularly bad. There is a broadbased weakness and it continues the global export collapse story.”
While the figures from International Enterprise (IE) Singapore confirmed the forecasts of the experts, they have also ratcheted up the fear among workers’ groups, businesses and others at the sharp end of the faltering economy.
“I’ve been working in electronics for almost 30 years, and this is the worst I have ever seen it,” said Francis Lim, president of United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries Union and assistant engineer at Hitachi Cable.
“Orders are not coming in. Some of my counterparts are getting 30 to 40 per cent of the jobs they used to get compared to the last two years.
“We are very worried about the next few months, and are not sure what lies ahead of us.”
Renny Yeo, president of the Singapore Manufacturers’ Federation, told The Straits Times: “Business has fallen so fast. We are working hard to prepare for what we think is still the worst to come... Exports have not hit the bottom yet.”
A spokesman for German chip-maker Infineon Technologies, which has a manufacturing plant here, said: “We’re definitely feeling the pain.”
He said that while no layoffs have been made, Infineon has shut down its plant here on two occasions for three to five days over the festive periods to reduce working hours and save costs.
Chartered Semiconductor, a major exporter, has cut 540 jobs here and is predicting its largest-ever quarterly loss.
Yesterday’s numbers were merely the latest instalment in what is becoming an all-too-familiar tale.
Exports have now fallen for nine months straight and economists see the dismal run continuing.
United Overseas Bank analysts believe the decline could continue until November with falls of 20 to 30 per cent possible over the next two or three quarters.
Economists agree that the January figures were distorted a little by Chinese New Year falling in January but Barclays Capital’s Leong Wai Ho calculated that even adjusting for fewer working days last month, exports fell 27 per cent.
This is still much worse than December’s 20.8 per cent contraction.
No sector, no market has escaped the carnage.
As expected, shipments to all the top 10 markets suffered double-digit contractions. But shipments to emerging markets in Latin America and South Asia, which had been growing until December, also fell by similar amounts.
The sore spots were the United States, where shipments plummeted 50 per cent, and China, down 51.6 per cent.
Tech exports continued to lead the decline, falling 38.4 per cent – a slump that has now endured for two years – while petrochemicals also fell 59.7 per cent.
The overall export numbers could have been even worse if not for pharmaceuticals faring better, recording only a 4.5 per cent contraction compared to December’s 51.1 per cent decline.
Figures from other corners of the economy confirm the sorry tale.
Shipments through Singapore ports fell 1.5 per cent in November – the first decline since 2001 – and then dived almost 14 per cent in December.
Freight volumes through Changi Airport have also slowed considerably, contracting 14.2 per cent in November and 21.4 per cent in December.
SIA Cargo plans to ground at least one aircraft and has asked pilots to consider no-pay leave for up to 30 months.
The pain is being shared as well. Taiwan and South Korea have both recorded historic falls in exports in the last month. – Straits Times