Singaporeans suffer under the foreign talent policy

16 Jan 07

The recent report showing that 70 percent of jobs created in 2006 went to foreigners is not a revelation.

In 2003, a group of professors from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) reported that three out of four jobs created in the past five years went to foreigners.

Then, the Ministry of Manpower immediately issued a statement to denounce the NTU’s findings and produced its own figures: That nine out of ten newly created jobs went to the locals.

The professors quickly withdrew their report, citing computational errors.

The SDP had, at that time, asked the Government to hold an inquiry to ascertain the truthfulness of the economists’ report and not merely bully them into silence.

Four years have passed and it is clear that the professors were right. Worse, Singaporeans have had to continue to suffer in silence under the PAP Government’s ill-conceived policy even though it is reported that a majority of people want a more judicious application of the foreign talent (Sunday Times, 14 Jan 07).

The Singapore Democrats repeat our stand: The foreign talent policy must be re-examined so that only foreigners with the requisite skills are allowed to work in Singapore.

We proposed the Singaporeans First Policy back in 2001 where we wanted foreigners to get the jobs only when we cannot find Singaporeans with the necessary skills to do them.

The PAP Government is desperately trying to make-up for the stunted population growth that resulted from its cruel and myopic Stop-at-Two family planning policy by flooding the society with foreign nationals.

The resultant economic and social consequences from such an unthinking move will yet manifest themselves in horrendous ways, if they have not already.

In addition, the Government refuses to acknowledge that the slow birthrate in Singapore is primarily due to the high cost of living and stressful lifestyle in our society which deters couples from wanting more children.

It also ignores the fact that the exodus of Singaporeans, most of whom possess talent and skills our country needs, to other countries is a result of the suffocating system created by the PAP.

It is clear that the Government not only has no intention of owning up to these problems it created, but now seeks to plaster over them by encouraging the indiscriminate influx of foreign workers.

Its main objective, of course, is to suppress the wages of working Singaporeans so that we can claim to be a “competitive” economy.

This race to the bottom is doomed to failure. It merely exploits the vulnerable to make the vulnerable even more vulnerable. It also ensures that while the rich get richer, the poor are consigned to an even bleaker future.

It escapes no one that the ministers continue to peg their salaries to the richest of the rich in Singapore, and ignore the plight of ordinary Singaporeans. The Government is able to do this only because the people have had their voices taken away.

The only remedy to this, and other problems that citizens face, is for the people to regain their political rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. Only when citizens are able to physically congregate en masse and speak freely will the Government sit-up and pay attention.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party

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