The following is a letter to the Manpower Minister, Mr Gan Kim Yong, by Mr De Souza Jose Socrates on the 6th of July. The minister has not replied to him. We thank Mr De Souza for allowing us to publish the letter here – without edit.

Dear Mr Gan,

It is with much disappointment in the government’s and with your ruling party’s policies that I am writing to you.

When I was shopping around for clothes on this GSS at Suntec City’s Levi’s branch, to my surprise, I noticed that all but one staff working at the outlet were filipino nationals. So I decided to probe a little further and to my ultimate surprise, they were very open and proudly declared to me that they got this job while here on social visit passes.

They also further told me that most of them working in Levi’s other outlets also obtained this job (sales assistant) the same way and their sole purpose were to obtain permanent resident visas so they could bring their family over to live and work in S’pore. Some also said they were merely using S’pore as a stepping stone to migrate to other western first world nations! And this is just the tip of the iceberg as Levis is not the only company to have this pratice. Guardian Pharmacy, Watsons, Tenchi Digital Lifestyle and countless other deparmental stores also have large foreign labour on their ranks.

Which leads me to ponder on the current ongoing global economic crisis and the unemployment situation in S’pore. Your ministry just announced over the past week that the labour market here is still soft and that we can also expect more retrenchments to come. During this period of hardship for many S’poreans, why is your ministry still allowing more foreign labour (also desired by many of your fellow minister collegues) and especially those on social visit passes to easily obtain jobs in S’pore? Dosen’t the ICA also probe with each application made for work permits as to how they managed to get the jobs? Don’t tell me that these are jobs shun by fellow S’poreans? One will just find it hard to believe!

One also just need to take a stroll down Geylang especially along Lor 16 and 18 and find that most coffeeshop assistants working are chinese nationals and the porportion of S’porean workers supposed to be regulated by legislation just isn’t there and dosen’t tally up! Needless to mention the vices that are taking place there on a daily basis. Vietnamese women would be seen sitting at Lim Beng Coffeehouse harrassing male patrons aggrasively for their sexual services.

We, as the citizens of S’pore, really need to be asking ourselves whether we do indeed have a first world government who have a heart for our people? We are not asking for more welfare to be disbursed, (which in itself is not a dirty word) but for the government to be treating us in a more humane way which is expected of a first world government in the first place! Your party have lost interest in our people’s well-being while in pursuit of even more greedy economic development and ties with PRC, India etc. I am deeply saddened by what I see and would hope there would a change in the politcal situation which reflects the situation by and large that we are in today. I don’t think we would fall for the welfare payouts only during election time nor the nine more Non-constituency seats created for the oppostition. With this note, I end by hoping that a political tsunami like March 8th 2008 in Malaysia would take place here in S’pore to serve as a form of ‘punishment’ for the PAP government!


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