Temasek Holding’s Surbana Jurong terminated about 50 staff who were deemed as “poor performers”. The layoffs occurred a couple of weeks ago, just before the Chinese New Year.

Surbana has stressed that the terminations were not retrenchment exercise. The staff were let go simply because of their poor performances.

It is indeed a sad day for Singapore. Some people may argue that many of the affected staff are foreigners and hence there is no need to feel sorry for them. But the issue is not whether local Singaporeans or foreign talents are being laid off. The issue is whether Singapore employers are beginning to lose their moral compass.

Make no mistake, bottom-line is of course important for every enterprise. Obviously companies are entitled to sack staff who cannot perform. But surely there should be ample time or few month’s grace period for the affected staff to improve? And surely there should be more sensible or even humane time to fire them? …