by Brad Bowyer
Singapore demographic data states that as of end 2018, we had 3,994,382 local residents.
Of which 3,471,936 were classified as citizens and 522,347 or just over 13% as permanent residents. That was out of a total population of 5,638,676.
To start with that made nearly 38.5% of our population foreign (it is worse now), one of the highest in the world – which on its own – brings with it many societal and cultural pressures, but today I wish to explore the question of Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMET’s).
In the recent Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation (POFMA) episode directed at Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) by Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the government claims there are factual errors on the SDP’s part as it states that the number of local PMET’s has been increasing not decreasing but let’s drill down a little into that blanket surface claim.
A recent Channel News Asia article on Singapore’s population on 26 Sept gave figures for how many Permanent Residents (PRs) and New citizenships were given over the last few years. You can also find some of the data on Singstats and around other publications although there is no one definitive source.
Now to be a PR you must have worked here for at least 6 months already under an employment pass or S-Pass and to be a citizen you must have been a PR for at least 2 years. There are a few other categories but essentially you must have been working here, and thus in the foreign PMET workforce or the PR PMET workforce before you became a citizen (work permit holders almost never get PR or citizenship).
What we do know is typically 80 to 85% of all foreigners here are in the workforce with their dependents and families only making up around 15 to 20%
In the ministry of manpower figures, the domestic/resident/local workforce (these terms seem interchangeable in many different graphs and tables) consists of citizens and PR’s but local PMET employment that was given for 2019 stood at 1,299,800 but how did it grow to that level?
We know the overall numbers of Employment Pass Holders has been growing annually. But we also know that a percentage of them move from Pass holder to PR each year. We also know the number of PR holders has been increasing but that a percentage of those have become Citizens each year. In addition, those that become PR holder and subsequently citizens come almost exclusively from the PMET category (with the exceptions of few investors and business owners).
The maths is a little convoluted but basically, the number of working PMETs reclassified each year outnumbers the increase in the number of PMET jobs created which suggest that all the increase is attributed to foreigners becoming first PR and then Citizen while the percentage of Native Singaporeans in this category has been steadily falling. It is like a conveyor belt for importing and reclassifying everyone while masking locally born Singaporeans slowly getting replaced by foreigners.
For example, in 2019 local PMET grew by 45,800 to 1,299,800 however in the same year 32,710 PR’s were granted and 22,250 New Citizenships were given. With 83.31% of the foreign workforce that year being workers it suggests that at least 46,037 foreign PMET’s were reclassified as either PR or Citizen and so cover more than the total increase in Local PMETs as stated by the Ministry of Manpower.
Of course, these are my guess based on the available data and this could all be cleared up if we could see definitive figures for all the categories rather than cherry-picked stats to meet a narrative but I don’t hold out hopes for this level of transparency because all the evidence suggests that the number of local-born PMETs in actuality has been falling for a considerable period and some serious questions should then be asked that may be too awkward to answer.
One that springs to mind is exactly what are our immigration and employment policies trying to achieve? Is this more of Lee Kuan Yew’s eugenics thinking in action as the PAP tries to engineer its “perfect workforce” at the expense of the citizens who were born and grew up here?
Maybe the government and the MOM, in particular, can answer us without having to revert to POFMA to state their position and answer our questions?
This was first published on Mr Bowyer’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission