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10 July 2009

Singapore govt looks into Marina Bay Sands’ opening delay

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The Singapore government is currently in talks with Marina Bay Sands over the integrated resort's announced delay, reported Channel News Asia, the city-state’s telecaster on its website.

Another issue is a possible staff shortage as observers note Singaporeans tend to shy away from the gaming industry.

The Marina Bay Sands integrated resort's opening has been pushed back to early next year. But with contractual obligations and Singapore's tourism sector at stake, the government is working with Sands to find a solution.

Senior Minister of State, Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, said: "If there is a contractual obligation and if there is a deviation, then I think both parties must agree that it is on a mutually agreed basis. So STB and other government agencies are in discussions with them and we expect to have a good outcome."

The minister declined to comment on whether there would be any penalties imposed on Marina Bay Sands for the delay.

Staffing problems could also add to it as Singaporeans generally seem to be avoiding gaming jobs.

Ang Hin Kee, CEO, Employment and Employability Institute, said: "Not as many people have come forward because when we ask them, they say, 'Don't you need training, don't you need to learn how to do this job?' So they are a little bit conservative even though you don't need prior experience to do these jobs. But people are a bit hesitant."

Experts also said that there is an issue of familiarity with the industry in Singapore.

Unlike Macau for example, where everyone knows what the gaming industry is about, in Singapore, there is a lack of family or friends who are currently working in that business for people to talk to find out more.

Observers said the rotating nature of the shift is another reason why some applicants are shunning the sector. However, non-gaming sector jobs at the IRs like retail have seen plenty of applicants.


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