Foreign-workers policy and national security

Singapore Democrats

In our previous post, we highlighted how the Government uses feel good videos and attractive commercials to project a picture of competence until the real test comes when the system fails abjectly.

We highlighted how a police programme on Crime Watch in 2009 had boasted: “Tough, disciplined and highly skilled and backed by the latest equipment, these officers are a formidable force to be reckoned with. They can be relied upon to deal with even the most violent riots which threaten lives and property. “

The statement is at complete variance with reality when the police were found to be in over their heads during the riot at Little India in 2013. They were ill-prepared, uncoordinated and lacked the know-how to deal with such an incident in real life.

Such hubris from the authorities is not a one-off. Remember how Lee Kuan Yew bragged about Singapore entering a golden period in 2007 when the investments of the GIC and Temasek in Western banks that were on the brink of a catastrophic meltdown. It was only the intervention of the US Government through TARP that saved our investments and savings from totally being wiped out.

Then there was Mr Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore’s former UN envoy and present dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, who told the world that “There are no homeless, destitute or starving people (in Singapore). Poverty has been eradicated.”

And when the a flood devastated parts of Bukit Timah in2009, then Environment Minister Yaacob Ibrahim’s first response was that such flood’s occurred only “once in 50 years”. He was roundly chastised by Mother Nature which proceeded to dump 34 more floods on the island in the last 4 years and, in the process, took 4 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage to property and businesses.

In 2010, then health minister Khaw Boon Wan assured us that the Government would not be caught out again on hospital bed shortage. Four years later, Changi General Hospital had to erect tents to temporarily accomodate patients who had to wait up to two days to be warded.

A worrying pattern

There is a pattern, a very worrying pattern, of this Government resorting to hyperbole and making assurances that things are well-managed and under control in Singapore, only to have their hubris exposed when calamity hits.

We may have been lucky that thus far the mishaps have, arguably, been salvageable. There is one situation, however, that, if it explodes, may leave this country permanently crippled, and it has to do with the current immigration policy.

As it stands, our population includes 40 percent of non-Singaporeans. This is the estimated number of foreign workers by nationality in Singapore (there are no offcial figures): India – 400,000, China – 300,000, Indonesia – 200,000, Philippines – 150,000, Myanmar – 100,000, Vietnam – 70,000.

In 2012, PM Lee Hsien Loong assured the country: “In the future, 6 million or so should not be a problem.” Given similar assurances in the past, Singaporeans should be very worried.

If a conflagration (social, economic, political or a combination thereof) occurs between Singapore and any one of the countries of which we have large numbers of citizens here, we could very well see a national security/public order situation that we may not be able to contain. If diplomatic pressure is brought to bear, coupled with social disturbances caused by foreign workers in their tens of thousands, the riot that took place in Little India could look like child’s play.

The SDP is concerned that the Government, with its track record of boasting, has not thought the dangers of a overly large body of foreign workers in Singapore. Only greater opposition presence in Parliament can make the Government less boastful and more circumspect.

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