At a ministerial dialogue at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) yesterday (28 Mar), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat told the students that Singaporeans need to be open and understanding of foreigners.
This is so that Singaporeans would have the confidence to interact with people of all races, languages and cultures from around the world, said Mr Heng who is touted as the potential Prime Minister after PM Lee.
It will be very negative for Singaporeans to draw an exclusive circle for themselves as Singapore would then have no place in the world. “We don’t want a world where people build walls around themselves,” he said.
“Our pledge – regardless of race, language or religion – is not to be taken lightly… but really as a way of life for Singapore.”
“Beyond that, we ought to deepen our understanding of other people… whether they are new immigrants, our immediate neighbours, students from NTU, National University of Singapore or other universities,” he said.
Mr Heng also encouraged students on exchange programmes to interact and learn from others.
On the projected population of 6.9 million by 2030, set out in the Government’s 2013 Population White Paper, Minister Heng said the number goes beyond how densely populated Singapore would be. The social space is as important.
Singapore’s population density is not excessive, he said, noting that other cities are even more crowded and dense. He cited former chief planner Liu Thai Ker, who said in 2014 that Singapore should plan for 10 million people for it to remain sustainable in the long term.
More Singapore PMETs out of job
As the government opens up to more foreigners living and working in Singapore, local PMETs are increasing having a hard time finding a good job for themselves.
Last Sunday (24 Mar), a senior HR Consultant Martin Gabriel from HRmatters21 shedded some light on the current job market situation in Singapore through a Facebook post.
He said that the employment market in the country is really bad as higher ranking job seekers are desperate enough to apply for a junior position with much lesser salary. He revealed that one of his clients recently advertised for a junior secretary position for a salary around S$3,000.
“What was astonishing was that, even senior Managers and Directors were applying for that position. Most of them, out of work for more than 6 months,” he wrote.
He added that over 100 applications were received for that one position, with at least 25% of the applicants were above the age of 40. If that is not bad enough, Mr Gabriel also said that they all held senior positions previously and was making way more than S$3,000.
Some of these companies also went ahead to hire foreigners from overseas directly, instead of going through the mandated 2-week job advertisement on the national Jobs Bank to consider Singaporean applicants.
The Jobs Bank was created by the government to supposedly force companies to interview and consider Singaporean job applicants before they are allowed to hire foreigners on Work Pass. It was set up in 2014 under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) by the Manpower Ministry to mandate companies seeking to hire foreign Employment Pass (EP) holders to post their job vacancies on Jobs Bank for at least 2 weeks before submitting any EP applications to MOM. This is to give the companies a chance to consider the locals first.
However, as can be seen in this posting on a foreign expat forum, this particular foreigner had already been offered employment by a company in Singapore. The company just needed to post a job advertisement on Jobs Bank to “wayang” – that is, to give the illusion that it was also giving a chance for the locals to apply when it had already decided on the foreign applicant.
It’s no wonder more Singaporean PMETs ended up driving taxi and Grab these days.