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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has mastered the art of talking a lot but not saying much. He did this when he spoke on the hot-button issue of foreigners flooding Singapore, a topic that dominated his National Day (ND) Rally speech on Sunday night.
His first statement already is dubious. Mr Lee says that the GDP for the first half of the year was 18% year-on-year and that this growth created “lots of jobs” and as a result “unemployment has gone down”. Not true.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported that the the actual numbers of the jobless increased by nearly 25,000 between March and June this year. Seasonally adjusted figures show that around 68,100 Singapore residents were out of work in June 2010.
The number of unemployed did decrease towards the latter half of 2009. But what good is a ND Rally speech when we cannot depend on the prime minister to use up-to-date information rather than spin us using data that’s more than half-a-year old?
Worse, the MOM report shows that those who remained unemployed after six months is on the rise. This means that not only are more people losing their jobs, those who lost their jobs are finding it more difficult to find a new one.
Mr Lee completely ignored this point and nonsensically concluded that the “economy has shaken off the recession” and happy days are here again.
The last time another Mr Lee said this, telling Singaporeans that we were entering into a “golden period”, our economy fell off the cliff triggering the worst economic crisis in our history.
More foreigners, please
The Prime Minister used this spin to justify the PAP’s policy of bringing in yet more foreign workers. We already have 2 million people in Singapore (out of 5 million) who are not Singaporeans.
He tells us that he wants to bring in more foreigners “so that in the long term we can rely less on foreign workers”. Did the PM think that he was talking to kindergarteners?
The Government is still intent on increasing our population to 6.5 million which will mean that foreigners will eventually outnumber Singaporeans in this country. It is this kind of rubbish that makes Mr Lee’s ND Rally speech so insulting and infuriating.
Then as if to make his point that we are relying less on foreigners, he assures us that instead of allowing 100,000 foreigners into Singapore this year, the Government will bring in only 80,000.
Already everywhere we turn see foreigners doing everything. From hotels to hospitals, kopitiams to counters at shopping centres foreigners fill every niche in Singapore. Foreigners have even moved in on the prostitution and gangland scenes.
And the PM thinks that taking in 80,000 instead of 100,000 is going to make a difference? It is like choosing between tweedle-dum or tweedle-dee. The PM must get serious.
See that white elephant?
Mr Lee diligently ignores the white elephant sitting in his Istana living room. He refuses to acknowledge the root cause of the problem which is that Singaporeans – skilled Singaporeans – are leaving Singapore. This country is hemorhagging talent and a major reason is the stifling PAP system here.
If he is serious about increasing productivity and making Singapore a base for talent and innovation, he should ensure that we institute reforms to our tired and archaic political system.
Mr Lee will also not admit that Singapore is using foreigners to suppress workers’ wages in Singapore in order that profit-margins can be maintained. Businesses may be registering greater profits but this is because our workers are getting paid less, not because they are getting more productive.
He exhorts that “Productivity must be the responsibility of all of us” and that in order that we improve our productivity, we must “keep learning and upgrading” and “increase our value and contribution”.
He completely omits the fact that, according to the International Labor Organization’s Global Wages Report 2009, Singaporeans are already working the longest number of hours but seeing their real incomes getting smaller.
Bear with it, it’s for my good
The final straw is Mr Lee telling the people, “So please bear with the larger numbers for the time being.”
For the time being? You mean that foreign workers are only here temporarily and after some time, we are going to send them home and everything will be back to normal? Mr Lee must stop talking to us like we are little kids.
Why must we bear with a policy that is crushing us – both figuratively and literally (in the MRT trains), one that we don’t agree with, one that is rammed down our throats, and one that will ultimately ruin Singapore? Why must Singaporeans bear with a policy that is only for the PAP’s good?
And while the Prime Minister tells us to bear with the burden, what is he and his ministers sacrificing? By increasing their already bloated salaries?
Mr Lee is putting a chimp in a tuxedo and telling us that James Bond is in town.