ELSON: It’s so easy to blame the little boys when you’re sitting pretty on top of a guaranteed S$16,000 a month, eh Abang Zainal? As a Labour MP, are you sure you know what you’re talking about when you condemn “cheap outsourcing”? (Zainal Sapari: Peter Drucker, do you know what you’ve done?). I’m a businessman, and I’m telling you this is a load of bull crap.
In a Nutshell, What is “Outsourcing” and what is “Business”
Outsourcing simply means that a business engages another company to do a job for it, rather than do the job itself. It happens EVERYWHERE because it’s NECESSARY. If I run a vegetable farm, I’m not going to put up the water pipes myself because I’m shit with piping – I get a piping specialist to do the job, and maintain the pipes so the water is fresh. That’s called outsourcing the job of piping.
Now to the “cheap” part. Business is about balancing cost and effectiveness, Abang Labour MP. Where possible, a business will ALWAYS look for cheap and good because it has to answer to SHAREHOLDERS who will ask “Why you get this fella more expensive, huh? You and him got one leg, ah? (translated from Chinese, it means “working together”, which means someone’s pulling a Brompton bike saga).
Where it’s not possible to find cheap and good, then the cheapest option which can get the job done as well as necessary. That, Abang Labour MP, is the real world of the corporate sector, and not the cocoon of NTUC or the army.
Now, the Poor Feng Fei Feis
Now on to that heart-wrenching “my feng fei fei aunt kena pay cut because of cheap sourcing part”. Abang Zainal, who installed automated parking gantries at carparks ah? Wasn’t that to improve efficiency and effectiveness at collecting money? And who suffers? Of course the feng fei feis who get SACKED lah because not as many are needed anymore and in the long run it’s CHEAPER to use technology than pay feng fei feis. I hear Andrea Bocelli singing Time to Say Goodbye, but not Abang Zainal hantam-ing the gahmen for this move which put people like his aunt out of job. Where’ the “responsibility” bit you mentioned, Abang Zainal?
But the Gahmen Does the Same Thing
Even the gahmen organisations outsource job functions to other private agencies. The HDB outsources valuation of flats to private companies. Of course, it could hire valuers and pay them a proper wage and generate more jobs, rather than let “evil” private enterprises seek the cheapest option possible. But no, that’s not happening. Don’t believe me? Go submit a valuation report request to the HDB and see whose company letterhead is on the report. And what about other ministries and grassroots associations? You got a butt cheek or two to tell me they don’t outsource? Even the packing of our commandos’ parachutes are outsourced!
Isn’t the Gahmen the Custodian of Our Welfare?
Private companies can be total bastards. I know – I’m a businessman. Total, total bastards. Isn’t it the government’s job then to step in when that happens and say “gao liao (enough), now clean up your act”? Some years back, when foreign labourers’ living quarters were essentially filthy shacks for squatters, culminating in the China Bus Drivers Strike, the government intervened and made sure that our national transport operator improved their welfare. And improve they did.
In Singapore, what’s driving employers to drive down costs? The super high rents lah. Ask any Orchard Central retailer and see whether they cow beh cow bu to you about rents for at least an hour over kopi. What’s being done about the increasingly tight stranglehold that landlords are exercising over tenants? (Cue whistle… and mumbling about “market forces” and some “invisible hand” that isn’t Low Thia Khiang’s.)
It isn’t enough for some Labour MP to cow beh cow bu then shake legs and expect miracles to happen. If you want decent wages, then do something about it. Oh yeah, wasn’t your feng fei fei aunt working for a gahmen stat board, Abang Zainal…?
Abang Zainal wrote that companies should “Do what you do best, outsource the rest but don’t outsource your responsibility!” Yes Abang, parachutes that preserve life are not a responsibility and their packing should be allowed to be outsourced.
Abang Labour MP’s whole blog post stinks of a populist move to endear himself to the working class in Singapore. Shuffled into menial jobs, they are threatened by the influx of foreign workers who can work longer, harder and for less money. What’s the government’s answer to that? SkillsFuture, which will bear fruit in the longer term. But what about the now?
In short – the gahmen does the very same thing that Abang Labour MP condemns and neglects to intervene in the market when necessary, Abang Labour MP throws a red herring then slams private enterprises, and in the process Abang Labour MP demonstrates that he doesn’t understand the basic building blocks of business.
When some two-bit NTUC Assistant Secretary-General tries to take on a world-renowned business guru without his foundations in place, it’s inevitable that he comes out looking like an ass, hor?