[A]ccording to the MOM’s findings (see excerpt in Figure C), their conclusion is that overall labour force growth will slow down significantly by the end of the decade. Therefore, it is not unrealistic to interpret this to mean that the current tightening of foreign labour influx might be just a short term solution for the next few years, before the ‘unsustainable slow growth’ is used as a reason to open up the landscape to more foreign labour. Clearer indication as to the government’s plan for the labour force direction for the next five to 10 years is therefore necessary at this point in order for the citizens of Singapore to better weigh their future.
The above gives the numbers to the feeling I’ve always had: that there’s a lot of wayang and smoke and mirrors about the FT policies. And that the PAP administration is itching to open the floodgates again. And that the current FT restrictions are aimed to show that we need more New Citizens like Raj who are out to screw us.
To be absolutely fair to the PAP, at the end of this article there are three extracts quoting PM and Zorro on immigration.
But this is the reality: SDP’s Dr Paul Tambyah said something recently that deserves to be very widely known. At a recent forum organised by the National University of Singapore Society where representatives from nine opposition parties and the ruling PAP were present, Dr Paul Tambyah said that young local doctors complaining about the hours and working conditions in hospitals, were told that the hospitals could always employ FTs at lower salaries. If our brightest citizens (even straight As can’t get into the local medical schools) are threatened with FT replacements, what about the Vocational Institutes’ grads?
What the PM, Zorro say (from CNA)
— Speaking at the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 23), PM Lee acknowledged that the Singapore’s immigration policy will remain an issue for a long time.
“It is a very sensitive matter and not an easy thing to talk about, even at NDR,” he said. ” Singaporeans understandably have strong views on it. The Government has heard them, but on this matter, there are no easy choices. Every option has a downside.”
He cited policy changes that had been made. The Government has upgraded infrastructure, slowed down the inflow of foreign workers, tightened up on the approval of permanent residency and citizenship applications, and made sure that Singaporeans are fairly treated at work.
He noted that if the Government is too liberal with its immigration policy, then society can come undone. Singaporeans would be crowded out, workplaces would feel foreign and our identity would be diluted.
“If we close our doors to foreign workers, our economy will tank,” he said.
Companies would not have enough workers and some would close, meaning jobs lost. Foreign workers are also needed to build homes, he said.
So, we have to find something in between, he said. Companies would still find costs going up and would have to pass some of this on to consumers; they would also have to pass up opportunities because they can’t find the workers.
Yet, because some foreign workers would still be coming in, “some Singaporeans would still feel that Singapore is changing too fast, and would still resent having to compete with non-Singaporeans. Whichever option we choose will involve some pain,” said Mr Lee.
“Yet, I believe that I am doing what Singapore needs and what best safeguards your interest. If I did not believe that, I would not be doing it. It is my responsibility to make this judgment and act on your behalf. And having acted, I owe it to you to account to you for my decisions, for doing what I did.”
— It is the Government’s duty to grapple with the “very difficult issue” of getting the inflow of foreign labour right – and at the same time maintaining the unique identity of the nation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“It is an issue where honestly speaking, there are no easy choices. There are trade-offs,” said Mr Lee, speaking on Friday (Jul 31) in a television interview with Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee, chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities.
“I would like to keep this a Singapore-Singapore … it has to maintain that Singapore character.”
— The Manpower Ministry is looking at ways to help companies transfer expertise and know-how from foreign professionals to the local workforce, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, as he spelt out what the ministry is doing to help strengthen the Singaporean core in the workplace.
Mr Lim said in Parliament on Monday (Jul 13) that his ministry is doing a closer analysis of the national Jobs Bank, including the number of jobs that are eventually taken up by Singaporean Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).
The process, he said, will help authorities identify early signs of skills deficit among the local workforce. The information would be shared with sectoral tripartite partners to look into manpower development plans.