Saturday, 23 September 2023

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Open letter to Wong Kan Seng

By Philip Ang

Dear Mr Wong Kan Seng

I refer to article on Yahoo Singapore dated 8 Feb, “This is not a rash govt: Wong Kan Seng”.

I have searched my “hearts and conscience” and frankly, I still do not know that it is not a rash government. The PAP government had already planned for a huge population increase more than a year ago and MPs were forced into making a decision within 5 days.

In 2006, as the DPM and Minister-in-Charge of Population issues, Mr Wong’s three strategies were:
– encourage marriage and parenthood
– engage and bond our Singaporeans overseas
attract suitable foreigners to work, live and settle here.

The government appears to be using the same policies which have failed.

If immigration was indeed key to increasing our TFR, why does the government not provide birth figures of new citizens? Anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise and new immigrants are probably contributory factors to our low TFR.

Increasing immigrants is a shortcut and never a solution. In all likelihood, new problems created by more immigration will be of historic proportions and “will not prevent a repeat of history” as you said.

Mr Wong also said “that the point is not what size the population should be, but instead how to keep Singapore’s economy growing at a sustainable rate..”.

The emphasis is again on our economy and an ever increasing GDP. An economy cannot continue to grow forever. What we are witnessing is an illusion created by reckless central bankers and powerful governments worldwide, refusing to bite the bullet decades ago. Creating a bubble to support another one merely delays the day of reckoning.

It is not “very herioic” to tell people to “bite the bullet” and this certainly will not kill anyone. Perhaps a dental appointment might be necessary and recovery comes sooner. It is the refusal to bite the bullet that has led to one crisis after another world wide. Our refusal to bite the bullet earlier by implementing a mindless immigration policy is the cause of this huge mess and unhappiness. The government is merely delaying the day of reckoning.

It is disingenuous to reframe this issue into one which all foreigners are rejected by pragmatic Singaporeans without any basis. “Revise foreign labour policy to help S’poreans” (ST Forum, Feb 8) is another plea from another Singaporean. This is not the first time nor will it be the last. The government doesn’t seem to be aware of the consequences or if it was, its indifference cannot be more glaring.

Expatriates holding top-level executive posts are likely to increase their own numbers (following our government footsteps of importing) which is natural for anyone to do. Lip service provided by civil servants who have not been exposed to such discrimination due to policy failure only causes more frustrations and cut no ice with Singaporeans who have been affected.

On this issue, the MOM has to deploy more manpower to get feel of the ground situation and act in the interest of Singaporeans expeditiously.

MOM also has no excuse to be unaware that foreign workers are housed in totally unacceptable conditions ie. 16 or maybe even up to 20 to a room (link)

Despite with the assistance of the SCDF, URA, NEA and other agencies to conduct regular inspections, how could such a situation have arisen in our Little Red Dot?

The answer lies in the rest of the article where Mr Wong talks about “economic growth”, “keeping Singapore’s economy growing at a sustainable rate”, “maintain the growth”, “growing the workforce”…

Not only have foreign workers become collateral damage because of increasing the GDP at all costs, so have Singaporeans. When Mr Wong said “the people’s consensus on the plan is necessary”, there should have been a referendum.

Instead, Parliament passes the bill in 5 days with an ‘80/7 debate’.

Politicians and civil servants should subject themselves to the same set of policies which have created a lot of stress and hardship for tens of thousands of Singaporeans. Only by walking the talk will you all really understand fellow SIngaporeans. The White Paper on Population would then have been unneccessary.

A disappointed heartlander

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