MOM PR tender: Just be transparent lah?

We refer to the article “MOM hiring external PR experts to convey policies” (Straits Times, Nov 3).

Hiring PR experts to “communicate manpower policies in a strategic way”?

It states that “In an unusual move, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is turning to public relations (PR) experts to help it communicate manpower policies in a strategic way.

It has asked for proposals for a plan to analyse public and online sentiments on manpower issues, and respond to them in an “integrated” way, using media stories, blogs and social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

The services required include coaxing journalists to write one or two MOM stories a month, and getting MOM officials featured in live and recorded TV and radio programmes every three months, according to its letter to prospective firms, which The Straits Times has seen.

While MOM has previously hired external experts to organise events, print brochures and run public education campaigns, it is believed that this is the first time it has turned to them to provide such “strategic communication services”.

Wasting taxpayers’ money?

This also goes beyond its hiring of a Singapore firm in June for $154,000 to monitor daily how local and foreign media are reporting news related to the ministry.

The year-long plan is expected to kick in next year.

When contacted, the ministry confirmed that it requested proposals from experts last week but declined to give details, including expected costs”

Transparency and accountability?

– Instead of arguably, wasting some more taxpayers’ money, perhaps we could be more transparent and accountable, and do the following:-

… disclosed the time series for the weighted average rate of return of all the CPF accounts (Ordinary, Special, Medisave and Retirement accounts)

… disclose the annualised returns from inception of the GIC (Government Investment Corporation) in S$- since CPF funds are managed by the GIC

… give comparative statistics as to whether any country in the world keeps excess returns from the national pensions scheme, at the expense of the citizens?

… confirm whether we pay the lowest real rates of return of all national pension funds in the world?

… breakdown the jobs created to locals into Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs)

… breakdown the total local employment into Singaporeans and PRs

… disclose the statistics on how many of the jobs under the Fair Consideration Framework went to Singaporeans?

… how many of the 30,000 new PRs and 20,000 new citizens in a year, are workers?

… what is the all workers’ (full-time and part-time) median and 20th percentile wages (excluding employer CPF contribution) for Singaporeans, PRs and residents – instead of always highlighting the median wage of full-time employed residents?

… breakdown the long-term unemployment statistics for “locals” into Singaporeans and PRs

… give the time series of university, polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates’ starting pay growth in real terms (after adjusting for inflation)

… disclose the percentage of civil service jobs that are Singaporeans

… disclose the percentage of new jobs’ hirings in the civil service in the last year, that went to Singaporeans

… disclose the number of persons with disabilities and ex-offenders hired in the civil service

… the percentage of civil servants and private sector employees who were re-employed under the same terms and conditions at re-employment, under the Re-employment Act

… the number of foreign university interns and local universities (public and private) interns who worked last year – who are not counted in the foreign workers’ quota

… breakdown the increase in employment pass, S-pass and work permits, to include the number new passes granted as well

… disclose the median pay of PRs and Singaporeans

… how many foreigners came as tourists and then applied for jobs?

S Y Lee and Leong Sze Hian
P.S. Come with your family and friends to the 5th Return Our CPF protest on 29 November 4 pm at Speakers’ Corner 

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.