COVID-19 has laid bare the country’s worst-kept secret – foreigners have taken so many of the plum jobs in this country that in key sectors like banking, they form the majority in top management positions.
Singapore has long become the land of milk and honey for the talented and very often the not-so-talented as well. We are their stepping stone to the kind of plenitude that they cannot find elsewhere.
It is only now that the Monetary Authority of Singapore says that it will actively engage with senior management of financial institutions on their workforce profiles and plans to grow the Singaporeans core. It is only now that NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng says that the government needs to tighten Employment Pass policies.
Why has it taken COVID-19 for this to come about? What happened to the cries of the people all these years?
On the other hand, the people who built our roads, homes, airport and transport system have been subjected to cramped, sordid living conditions that led to massive, uncontrollable COVID-19 outbreaks. They are the migrant workers given shameful Third World treatment.
In this, we see a microcosm of our country. The foreign talents, the IT professionals, the bankers and kingpins in key institutions like Temasek Holdings represent the elite class. If the ones at the top do well, our ministers do well – their salaries are after all pegged to the top earners in this country.
As for those at the other end of the spectrum, we have already heard that the low-skilled are the first to lose their jobs in this pandemic. They struggle to make ends met. They do not even get to smell the milk and honey – Singapore is only the land of milk and honey to those at the top, including the foreign talents. As for the migrant workers, they can count themselves lucky just to survive this pandemic.
It’s no use for politicians to keep saying no one will be left behind. The undeniable fact is that many are being left behind. Beyond looking at the bottom, look at what has transpired at the top. What happened to the Singaporean core?