The Online Citizen

“I’ve created all these jobs…”: PM Lee

January 29
11:03 2014


Explaining why there are more foreign professionals in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this is because Singapore’s economy has grown, and that there are not enough Singapoeans to fill the jobs created.

Mr Lee was speaking at the Ministerial Forum at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Tuesday.

According to local news outlets, there are about 150,000 professional Employment Pass holders here. They are in jobs such as chief executive officers and lawyers.

“Why are there so many?” Mr Lee explained in response to a question on whether Singapore could slow down the influx of foreign professionals here. “Because my economy has grown, I’ve created all these jobs, I don’t have Singaporeans for all of them.”

Mr Lee, however, said that he hopes he will be able to replace these expats with Singaporeans and that perhaps Singapore could do with fewer expats.

But he also said, “If I send all of them home, will I be sorry? Yes, and I am sure you will be too because you will not go to that job.”

It is a theme which Mr Lee has espoused on previously. Last October, he explained that foreigners are needed to meet Singapore’s economic and demographic needs.

“You need that range of skills and experiences and talent which no society can generate on its own, and you have to get them from all over the world – Europe, America, China, India,” he said at the France-Singapore Business Forum.

Yesterday, he gave the example of a foreigner CEO of a bank who creates “thousands of jobs”.

“You put a wrong CEO there, the bank goes bust, thousands lose their jobs.”

Mr Lee’s remarks come amidst lingering anger over the online postings of wealth manager Anton Casey who had posted derogatory and insulting remarks about “poor people” in Singapore who used public transport. It resulted in widespread outrage with Mr Casey’s employer terminating his services. Mr Casey and his family have since left Singapore for Australia.

Mr Lee’s claims about having “created all these jobs” and not having enough Singaporeans to fill them is a reiteration of a point he had made in his Labour Day message last year.

“We received record investment commitments last year – $16 billion worth,” Mr Lee said then. “And overall we created more jobs last year than the year before. We are creating so many jobs that we are worried that we do not have enough workers to go and fill them.” [See here.]

Nonetheless, the government will be introducing measures for companies and businesses to give Singaporean professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) “fair consideration” in job applications under the “Fair Consideration Framework” which will come into effect in August this year.

The framework stipulates that “firms with more than 25 employees must advertise vacancies for jobs paying less than 12,000 Singapore dollars ($9,574) a month on a new jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency for at least 14 days before applying for an employment pass to bring in a foreign national.” [See here.]

lhljobsOn the issue of the government having created “so many jobs” overall in the economy, however, a study by the National University of Singapore’s Social Work department found that most of these jobs were in the services sector. It also found that the “working poor” in Singapore were not earning enough to make ends meet.

Associate Professor Hui Weng Tat of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said: “We do have a problem, because we do have a large number of households who are earning income in the lower end, not having enough to cover their household expenditure, especially at the lower 20 per cent.”

Channel Newsasia reported that, “Among the reasons is the fact that about 90 per cent of the one million jobs created in the last decade are from the services sector, which observers say are lowly paid to begin with.”

In a Ministry of Manpower report released yesterday, it found that almost 80 per cent of jobs created last year were from the services sector as well.

  • Andrew Leung

    PM Lee is creating jobs for foreigners. Please create some jobs for Singaporeans and create more Singapore Companies. PM Lee is in the wrong job, he must be removed.

    • STOPcomplaining

      There are lots of jobs out there for Singaporeans! Look at the job portals! As for creating more Singapore companies, of course that’s the best and its in the pipeline but all these takes time. And rather than complain and give some nonsensical response such as the above, why not you propose active solutions? PM Lee stated facts – many companies are moving out. Many are getting retrenched. And those moving out includes Singaporean companies because the cost of labor is killing them. Increasing productivity requires lots of money and time – its not overnight. And being a country like ours without hinterland, I’m worried. So stop complaining and start acting and help Singapore cope with the changes – that you are proposing.

      • Andrew Tung

        STOPcomplaining could you kindly suggest some ways to help Singaporeans stop complaining and cope with the changes please.

      • a

        the problems exist for too long.
        do u realise that when u stop complaining, lots of time went past without action. nobody guarantee anything is in the pipeline. in fact, u jus wanna use time as an excuse to promise it’ll be done while u’re actually sleeping.
        lots of solutions are given, even here at onlinecitizen, but u didn’t respect, and u ask “why not you propose active solutions”.
        what u should have asked for is that every MP should STOPlistening and use earplugs.

      • Edmund

        It is PAP killing our own local industry because they are directly competiting industries and markets with local sme local companies. Plus the influx of high rents and costs complicated by our government’s set of land price.
        When foreigners are not screen properly, many local jobs are lost to cheaper and easy job seekers abroad.

  • Andrew Leung

    The Government must publish the Resumes of the 150,000 FTs so that people can learn what skills and experience is needed and the talents that are unavailable in Singapore. Who is the FT Bank CEO that created 1000′s of jobs, we want him to be Temasek Holdings CEO.

  • Karmic-Retribution

    STOPcomplaining reply to Andrew Leung seems innocuous but it belies a typical charlatan whose blind faith to the PAP is indicative of a parrot trained to read and do his duties as cued. He has no idea to the worthlessness of the current PM. Moreover, the PM will always dictate the situation……
    Our PM earns $800 per hour and normally talks down ignoring all suggestions by any alternative voice. By the same token, why should Andrew Leung whose daily wage does not match the PM’s” minute” salary propose any suggestions or offer the grossly overpaid PM with any active solutions to govern Singapore. All our problems were inbuilt and created by the PAP laws of incompetence in the first place… All they need is remove their ill-bred failed policies,
    Moreover, by ignoring our voices, many Singaporeans will collectively remove them from office…..

    In the past, PAP governance was oh so accepted until they changed the rules to fill their wallets with highfalutin wages and by bringing in the unwanted FT.

    Both Andrews are correct by all counts.

  • KorLin Ang

    Economically, the influx of FT, in particular, the middle and lower skills workers is to depress the real wage, as a strategy to boost competitiveness. Locals have been replaced at all levels. To say FTs creata jobs is lacking supportive evidence. Is the PM suggesting having local CEOs do not create jobs? May I then ask do we have the right PM fir the job?

  • No scandal

    Actually the jobs in Singapore are created by Andrew Low, Andrew Leung and Karmic retribution, hence their strong and informed opinions on the matter. Oh wait…..

    • Duh

      You DO realise that you have just provided a totally irrelevant point right? Whether those people created jobs or not has no bearing at all about whether jobs were created by the PM.

      Also, whether jobs were created by the PM or not does not imply that these jobs went to Singaporeans and not FTs.

  • singaporeandude

    “I’ve created all these jobs”….Sure is incredible that one man can take credit for creating “all these jobs”. He also called our economy “his economy”. If this is not obnoxious, what is?

  • Sunny Sooi

    “I created all those jobs. The economy is mine.” Something is wrong. Its ” I ,I ,I I .”

    Like Hitler, ” All the world is mine. I will finish up all the Jews in the world,” and on and on. This fellow, Hitler, is a madman.

  • SAF

    What about all the fake foreign trash?

    Even Saudi Arabia caught 30,000 fake foreign trash. What has been done in Singapore? How many caught???