By Leong Sze Hian
Encouraging tourists to come to apply for jobs 10 years ago?
After writing “The alternative news in 1 day? (part 11) – Tourists on job hunt” (Dec 23), ES who has been sending me great stuff, and also did the compilation of all my letters to Today as a gift to me on my 60th birthday – sent me the following news report about the then Acting Manpower Minister encouraging foreigners to come as tourists to apply for jobs, in 2004:
“Govt to help foreign workers” (Straits Times. May 10. 2004)
It states that “The Government is trying to help such people. Said Dr Ng Eng Hen, Acting Minister for Manpower and Minister of State for Education: “What we want to do is disseminate some information to the workers before they come (here).”There is no need for you to part with your money before coming to Singapore. You can come on your own. We will supply you with a work permit. There is no fee for the work permit.”
So, we have been allowing and even encouraging this for a decade or more already.
Compete for jobs, depress pay?
No wonder the median and 20th percentile real wages have hardly increased by less than 1% in the last decade or so.
This may arguably be the most damaging foreign labour policy that may have caused tens of thousands of Singaporeans to lose their jobs, have their pay cut substantially, etc.
Still going on?
What is perhaps excruciating is that this policy is still practised now – and as I understand it being reported in the same newspaper almost exactly 10 years after it was first reported.