The following letter was sent in by a group of readers who works at CBD.
We sat down with our families on the live broadcast of the National Day Rally Speech, eagerly anticipating to what the future holds for our next generation. The following statement caught us by surprise…
“If we close our doors to foreign workers, our economy will tank,” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally speech on 23rd August 2015.
Alas, economy tanking isn’t the only issue we face if we depend on foreign workers.
Since the issue was singled out during his speech, we were expecting him to share with us his plan to address this issue. Perhaps to reduce our dependency/reliance on foreign talents? In addition, this being the election season, we thought this will be a great motivation for the incumbent to make changes to the loose immigrant policies on foreign talents.
PM Lee mentioned nothing.
As a legacy of Singapore’s very much respected founding father, a leader who represents the citizens of Singapore, pledged to safeguard interests of the citizens, who has unfettered access to all the ministries as well as an army of scholars and elites would have at the very least come up with a plan to address this issue.
We would have thought that there should be a plan with strategies on how to avoid and/or mitigate the already prominent and dire foreign talent issue faced by many fellow Singaporeans, especially in the private sectors.
Even baby steps to reduce the dependency would have made us feel that the voices of typical Singaporeans are finally heard. “The PM finally listens.”
But again, PM mentioned nothing.
We am not elite, just like majority of the Singaporeans, but when PM mentioned about foreign workers, we would assume he meant by foreign workers (blue collar) and foreign talents (white collar). We agreed wholeheartedly to what PM said, we need the blue collar workers to build our roads and buildings, to help to look after our young and old when we are working.
But what about the white collars? Do we really need them?
Recall some of the most recent incidents that made it to the headlines on the social media.
- Anton Casey
- Yang Yin
- Nisha Padmanabhan
- Mr Caucasian MRT bully
Singapore has a reputation as a regional education hub, National University of Singapore (NUS) ranked 22 and National Technological University (NTU) ranked 39 in the latest 2014/2015 QS World University Rankings. So what is it exactly that they have and we do not have?
Why are Multi-national companies (MNCs) able to employ Foreign Talents (White Collar) to their companies and these companies do not seem to be deterred or daunted by the stringent hiring policies enforced by Singapore Workflow Development Agency (WDA) and Ministry of Manpower – Fair Consideration Framework? The job bank was available since August 2014 and yet, how many foreign companies are actually enforced to adhere to policy? Or were there even checks on them?
There are so many questions left unanswered in the Rally and more questions came up on our minds.
Didn’t Tharman proposed to reduce our dependency by increasing our productivity a few years ago?
Is it working? If not, then what is the issue? What actions are we taking to correct the issues?
What is the point of bringing up the foreign workers issue without any risk response plans? If we continue to adopt loose immigration policies, will our children ever have a job many years down the road?
The reason we increase the number of foreigners is because of our low Total Fertility Rate (TFR). Do we have a plan to increase our TFR to 2.1? Is the plan to increase TFR working? If not why?
If we are not able to convince families who don’t want children to have children, can we try to convince families who have children to have more children?
Expats are called expat because they join the companies with a higher salary than the locals. Is there something wrong with our education system that the companies are willing to even hire expats with higher pay cheque than university graduated Singaporeans?
To us, the National Day Rally has lost its meaning. The two third Singaporean core is just a myth.
Voices of the < than 5% of Singaporeans in a MNC (Finance) in Central Business District