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Dr Robert Yap, President of the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), Conferred the Public Service Star at National Day Awards 2023

The Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) is honoured that its President, Dr Robert Yap, has been conferred the Public Service Star (Bintang Bakti Masyarakat) for this year’s National Day Awards.

  1. Dr Yap is the Executive Chairman of YCH Group Pte Ltd, Singapore’s largest home-grown supply chain solutions company and leading regional supply chain management partner to many of the world’s leading brands across Asia-Pacific.
  1. He joined the SNEF Council in June 2013 and succeed Mr Stephen Lee as its President in September 2014. As President of SNEF, Dr Yap represents employers in the Singapore’s tripartite system to enhance labour market flexibility and to enable employers to implement responsible employment practices. Dr Yap plays a key leadership role in advancing tripartism and works with the Government and the Labour Movement to foster harmonious workplace relations in Singapore.
  1. One of the key changes that was instituted during his term was the raising of the retirement and re-employment ages (RRA). Whilst supporting the need to make adjustments to the RRA, Dr Yap had also successfully advocated on behalf of employers for a reasonable timeline to adjust their succession and organisation renewal plan, financial support for CPF rate increases and employment of senior workers, and better support for the reskilling and recareering of senior workers. The Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers released a roadmap to raise the retirement age and reemployment age to 65 and 70 by 2030 respectively in August 2019.
  1. A few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Singapore in early 2020. The pandemic threatened the lives and livelihood of workers and sustainability of businesses. SNEF worked with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to help employers cut costs and save jobs.
  1. Dr Yap served on the National Jobs Council (NJC) chaired by then Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to identify and develop job opportunities and skills training for Singaporeans during the pandemic. SNEF was given the chance to champion Retail transformation. After the pandemic, SNEF continues to do so as the Jobs-Skills Integrator for the Retail Sector. For the role that it played during the COVID-19 pandemic, SNEF was also conferred the President’s Certificate of Commendation (COVID-19).
  1. As a trade union of responsible employers, Dr Yap also supported the formation of the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers in October 2020 as he appreciated that our lower wage workers played essential roles in keeping our economy going and our environment safe during the pandemic. He also strongly believes that the Progressive Wage Model would benefit both employers and workers as it is linked to job responsibilities, skills and productivity.
  1. More recently on 4 August 2023, the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness, which he co-chaired with Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, made 22 recommendations to uphold workplace fairness in Singapore.
  1. On receiving the National Day Award, Dr Yap said: “I am extremely honoured and humbled to receive this national award. This award is a recognition of the contribution by SNEF in fostering harmonious industrial relations in Singapore, creating good jobs for workers and ensuring business sustainability for employers.
  1. It has been a privilege for me to serve on the SNEF Council for the past 10 years. I would like to pay tribute to the tremendous support given to SNEF by our tripartite partners, the Government represented by MOM and the labour movement led by NTUC, as well as employers and especially the 3,400 members of SNEF, without which SNEF could not have been as effective.
  1. This award is very much a team effort as I am supported by a dedicated SNEF Council, Industrial Relations Panel of HR practitioners and the SNEF Secretariat. I will continue to do to the best of my ability in serving Singapore in enhancing its harmonious industrial relations and competitiveness for the benefit of all.”