Teo’s update on discrimination against S’porean workers: A sincere plan or desperate damage control? 

The SDP sent on Friday our official application to Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo to cancel the Correction Directions she issued for three of our posts on the issue of the PAP’s foreign worker policy.

We also called on her to apologise for wrongly labelling our posts as false. We laid out our case in detail in our application.

At the heart of the MOM’s case is that there has been no rising trend of retrenchment or unemployment in Singapore.

This is hardly a credible statement. (In its graphs, the MOM presented data only from 2015-2018 to demonstrate its claim. The problem started way before 2015.)

Singaporeans who have been through years of the PAP’s disastrous importation of foreign workers, especially PMETs, know the seriousness of the problem.

They know of relatives and friends who have been displaced by foreigners. Many have even personally experienced the pain of losing out unfairly to foreign workers who are not more qualified but simply willing to work for lower pay.

No POFMA action by the MOM can deny the existence of the problem.By using POFMA against the SDP, it is clear that the MOM is trying to deflect the people’s anger and, more importantly, stifle debate about its policy. 

But the PAP cannot escape the truth. The people know it, we feel it, we are going through it every day. The growing problem of retrenchment and job uncertainty facing Singaporeans especially among Singaporean PMETs is a very real and pressing one. Denying that the problem exists only delays finding a solution.

Even Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, when he was DPM, pointed out: “Our increasing dependence on foreign workers is not sustainable.”

More recently, Prof Tommy Koh warned: “We should not abandon the displaced workers because we don’t want more and more Singaporeans to become Grab drivers or worse, to join the ranks of the angry voters.”

The SDP has been campaigning hard on this issue and we have stated repeatedly that we will make it a key platform for our election campaign.

Feeling the heat, Ms Teo announced three days ago that her Ministry would now “introduce stronger deterrence for discrimination against Singaporeans when hiring.”

This sounds more like desperate damage control just before the elections than a well-considered plan like what the SDP has drawn up in our population policy Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future (read it here).

The MOM has taken so-called measures and made numerous assurances in the past about protecting the welfare of Singaporean workers. Minister Teo’s 2020 announcement is just the latest one. Through all these, however, the problem persists with foreign PMETs continuing to pour in and Singaporeans continuing to be displaced in our own country.

But unless the SDP gets into the next Parliament to provide an effective check, the PAP will not stop importing still more foreigners.

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