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Sylvia Lim advocates for recognition of older workers amidst ageism concerns

Speaking at the Budget 2024 debate, Ms Sylvia Lim highlights age discrimination, urging recognition of ‘young seniors’ as valuable resources. Advocates for policy shifts and lifelong learning.



In her speech during the Budget 2024 debates, Ms Sylvia Lim, a Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, addressed the critical issue of leveraging the potential of older workers in Singapore.

Ms Lim, who has been labelled a “young senior,” shared her personal experiences and observations to highlight the evolving societal attitudes towards ageing.

“In this Budget, I and others born in or before 1973 have been called ‘young seniors’. These days, when younger commuters give their seats up to me on the MRT, I no longer feel insulted but accept with grace. That said, with better life expectancy and health, 60 is the new 40,” Ms Lim articulated, setting the tone for her advocacy on behalf of older workers.

She underscored the importance of recognizing the value and contributions of older citizens, not just as beneficiaries of welfare but as active participants in the nation’s progress.

Ms Lim drew inspiration from global and local figures, such as Martin Scorsese and Ms Teresa Hsu Chih, to challenge the stereotypes associated with ageing.

“What can older people contribute? A lot,” she stated, pointing to Scorsese’s continuous influence in the film industry at the age of 81 and Teresa Hsu’s charitable work past the age of 110. These examples served to underscore her message that age should not be a barrier to contribution and achievement.

Addressing the pervasive issue of age discrimination, Ms Lim shared, “Over the years, I have met many older residents whose job search suggests age discrimination.”

She recounted the story of a resident with extensive experience in healthcare management who struggled to find employment due to his age, illustrating the systemic barriers older individuals face in the job market.

Highlighting the disparity between job vacancies and seekers, Ms Lim noted, “Yet, the fact is that there are jobs waiting to be filled.”

She pointed out that, according to the MOM’s Labour Market Report for Q3 of 2023, the ratio of job vacancies to job seekers was at 1.58, indicating a significant demand for workers that could be met by older individuals if not for ageist hiring practices.

Ms Lim also addressed the evolution of the job landscape, emphasizing that “While there may still be some physically demanding sectors that may not be suitable for older workers, this space has decreased over time.”

She advocated for a shift in perspective, supported by advancements in health and technology, to recognize the capabilities of older workers across various sectors.

Anticipating legislative changes, Ms. Lim expressed her support for the upcoming anti-discrimination legislation, emphasizing its potential to make a significant impact.

“To this end, I am looking forward to the anti-discrimination legislation to be unveiled later this year,” she stated, highlighting the importance of such measures in creating a more inclusive employment landscape.

Furthermore, Ms Lim delved into the importance of retraining and lifelong learning for older workers, welcoming the Budget’s introduction of the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme for Singaporeans aged 40 and above. She questioned the specifics of these measures, seeking clarity on how they would ensure employability outcomes and whether they would allow for enrichment purposes as well.

In conclusion, Ms Lim reaffirmed the invaluable role of older workers in society, stating, “Let me conclude. I have focused on how older workers are a national resource that should be leveraged on for the benefit of society.”

She called for a collective effort to tackle age discrimination, emphasizing the need for lifelong learning and adaptability in an ever-evolving job market. Through her speech, Ms Lim not only advocated for the rights and recognition of older workers but also challenged societal norms regarding ageing and productivity.

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O please PAP oso playing the same tune plus pretend never listen for almost 11 years …

So dun tell me one is better than the others!

You donkey losers elect such oppo that keep playing a broken record with the same tune over and over again. But nothing happens. Then they play the tune again and again for the whole duration of every 5 yrs if these bums get elected in….again.
For every month, they get S$19,600 not including bonus to play some tune that appear pleasant for these losers who elected these oppo to hear.😆😆😆😆