Make employment for people with disabilities a national issue: Halimah Yacob

Speak of Parliament and relay runner Tan Chuan-Jin hands the baton of the Relay Majulah charity initiative to President Halimah Yacob. (PHOTO: Relay Majulah)
President Halimah Yacob at the 2019 President's Star Charity show. (FILE PHOTO: Relay Majulah)

SINGAPORE — Employment for persons with disabilities should be a national issue, instead of it being just an objective of welfare organisations and social service agencies, said President Halimah Yacob.

In a post put up on her Facebook page on Wednesday (10 June), Halimah wrote that she hopes the newly-formed National Jobs Council will review how Singapore can generate employment for persons with disabilities.

“Persons with disabilities will benefit much more if they are mainstreamed in our job creation and job placement efforts, instead of being treated separately,” she wrote in her Facebook post.

“In my many conversations with parents of persons with disabilities, the lack of job opportunities for their children and the worry of how their children will sustain themselves after they are gone are often lifelong concerns.”

Signing pledge to signal commitment

Halimah urged employers and organisations to sign the Enabling Employment Pledge to signal their commitment in doing more for the employment of persons with disabilities.

The pledge is part of this year’s President’s Challenge, which is focused on empowering persons with disabilities.

“At the start of COVID-19, we had partnered with over 100 hotels to provide training and employment to persons with disabilities,” Halimah said in her Facebook post.

“More than 100 organisations from the public, private and people sectors also signed an Enabling Employment Pledge to signal our joint commitment to do more in this area. I hope more employers will join us on this effort.”

Opportunity to review national priorities

Halimah said that with the establishment of the National Jobs Council, which is headed by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, it is an opportunity for Singapore to review its national priorities as it re-strategises where its economy is heading.

“We need to gain a better perspective of where the jobs will be and how to make them accessible to Singaporeans,” she said in her post.

“COVID-19 has brought about major disruptions and uncertainties. But the silver lining is that it is also an opportunity for us to review our national priorities. If we as a nation decide to define compassion and kindness as what we truly value, we can emerge from this crisis a better people.”

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