SDP population policy: Hire S'poreans first, retrench S'poreans last

8 June 2019

Singapore Democrats

The SDP pushed for reform of the immigration policy which it says allows in too many foreign workers into Singapore to displace local PMETs.

The party made this proposal when it launched its alternative population and immigration policy Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future at its office in Ang Mo Kio this afternoon.

The proposals, introduced by a new face in the party Ms Joyce Tan, would take a more measured approach towards allowing foreigners to work in Singapore.

One idea is to adopt a points-based system called the Talent Track Scheme where foreign PMETS wishing to work in Singapore have to apply to. The applications will be assessed based on their qualifications, skills, and experience.

Only those who meet the required number of points will qualify for a list of potential employees.

Employers will then be allowed to hire foreigners from this pool but will have to demonstrate that no Singaporean is available or qualifies for the position before that.

“This will prevent firms hiring foreigners based solely on their ability to accept lower wages,” said Ms Tan, a communications professional who has held executive positions in local and international corporations. She currently works in a regional company.

The SDP's proposal comes amidst a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs getting retrenched. Such a trend is partly the result of hundreds of local companies continuing to discriminate against local workers.

Ms Tan also took issue with the idea that Singapore can accommodate a 10 million population. The idea was raised by Mr Heng Swee Keat recently.

With a population density that is one of the highest in the world, Singapore can ill-afford to grow a population of 10 million by bringing in more foreigners.

As it is, Singaporeans are one of the unhappiest and most stressed out workers in the world. By not taking into consideration the physical and mental well-being of the people, the PAP's current approach of cramming more foreigners onto this island is counter-productive.

CEC member Mr Khung Wai Yeen, who presented the policy with Ms Tan, pointed this out. He also noted the low birthrate and high emigration rate that is causing the Singaporean population to shrink.

He cited the high cost of living and stressful lifestyle as causes of younger Singaporeans leaving the country or having fewer children.

To address this problem, the SDP has proposed a 10-point plan under another policy A Better Life For All: Keeping The Cost Of Living In Singapore Affordable to make Singapore less expensive.

“Raising taxes and fees on a slew of items in the last couple of years makes Singapore even more expensive and, hence, exacerbates the problem of a shrinking population,” Ms Tan pointed out. “This is why the raising of the GST to 9 percent from the current 7 percent is a bad idea.”

One suggestion in the proposal is to abolish the GST for basic necessities like food, medicine and school supplies.

It points out that the intent of the PAP is to increase GDP growth at all cost, adding that it is misguided for the Government to think that having a larger population, even one made up of a disproportionate number of foreigners, will achieve this goal.

A large population, the SDP says, achieved at the expense of the well-being of Singaporeans is a recipe for disaster. Not only does it hurt the people but it will make Singaporeans even more alienated and disengaged from society.

The party has therefore proposed using the Genuine Progress Index (GPI) which measures economic progress by also taking into consideration social and environmental factors.

The alternative also proposes the removal of race identity in our Identity Cards as this serves only to divide Singaporeans when we should be fostering one single Singaporean identity.

The SDP has previously launched other alternative policies in housing and healthcare.

You can read SDP's population and immigration policy Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future here: http://yoursdp.org/Policy-2019/Building-a-people.pdf