Saturday, August 29, 2015

Campaign Trail - Foreign Labour and Population Policy

Campaign Trail - Foreign Labour and Population Policy

Foreign Labour and Population Policy (FLPP) still remains as the SUPER HOT TOPIC on the ground when we went around CCK.

Interesting enough, I have met FIVE different groups of people so far, putting up their grievances about this FLPP.

1) The first group of people is of course Singaporeans who are EXTREMELY Angry of Singaporeans being displaced by cheaper foreign labour and forced to drive taxi or suffers "underemployment". These people will not show up in government statistics as "unemployed" but the truth is, these PMETs are UNDEREMPLOYED.

2) This group of Singaporeans are angry about the crowding effect of overpopulation and the cultural conflicts caused by excessive foreign population growth. This is a big potential time bomb and it has become BIGGER than a mere problem of "integration".

3) This group of Singaporeans are those with foreign spouses. PAP government has refused citizenship/PRs to their foreign spouses or give long term visit passes to their foreign parents to come to Singapore so that they could take care of their children. This is due to the "low income" criteria that ICA set for such cases. The irony is that while PAP government discriminated against lower income earners in marrying foreign spouses but to the lower income earners, the only option for them to get married is to marry foreign brides!

4) This group of Singaporeans were born in Singapore but they have siblings who are born elsewhere (eg. Malaysia). They wanted to get their siblings to come and live with them, even willing to be their sponsors but ICA has ruled against it! This is basically inhumane!

5) This group consists of SMEs owners who are "victims" of people pressuring PAP government to tighten FLPP. They seems to blame "opposition parties" for it but I have to explain to them that it is PAP's mismanagement of the FLPP and quota system that created their problems.

I also explain to them that they should take active steps to review their company or factories' processes to increase productivity while cutting down dependency on extensive labour. MOM should coordinate and monitor such improvement made to SMEs. SMEs may lack access to technology or expertise which are used in other countries and MOM or SPRING should be playing a more active role in consultancy work to help them to further improve processes. Productivity growth continues to be low because PAP government only throw money after tons of paper work and bureaucracy. If a SME has really reached a high level of automation but still have difficulties in employing local operators, then MOM should allow them to increase their quota. This should be done case by case basis.

MNCs and GLCs hardly have any problems in employing Foreign Labour and some have extremely favourable quota to start with. The irony is that these jobs are mainly PMET jobs which Singaporeans desire and want to do but PAP government has allowed them to be displaced by loose quota.

Ironically, PAP government has set very high workers' levies on jobs which Singaporeans shun away (eg. Construction)

I also find it extremely CRUEL and Inhumanely inconsiderate for ICA to make it extremely difficult for middle-lower income Singaporeans to get PRs or citizenship for their foreign spouses. It is ironic that some of them whom are from lower income household, could not get citizenship for their foreign spouses and ended up paying more for everything just because their PRs or just long term visiting pass status.

I am not entirely against FLPP but I believe, we should do it responsibly and with a right direction. I would want to GROW ORGANIC local families with foreign spouses and would not mind giving citizenship to these foreigners who are married to Singaporeans.

It would be totally ironic to see foreign labour from India or PRCs allowed to bring their whole family to Singapore to reside and getting PRs so easily just because they earn higher income or subject to the liberal FTAs signed with their home countries while our local Singaporeans' foreign spouses were discriminated against, due to the lower earning power.

Foreign spouses of Singaporeans will integrate into our society much easier than those foreign labour who bring in their whole family from foreign land. I really cannot understand the rationale behind such discrimination against our own Singaporeans at all.

Last but not least, we should set up a "Recovery from Underemployment" mechanism to help those who are really underemployed (eg PMETs turn taxi drivers) to get back to work in the field of their expertise again.

Goh Meng Seng

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whatever group lah, and whatever their grievances about this FLPP, one thing for sure. There are simply not enough of them to want to vote the PAP out, even in worse times than now, eg in GE 2011.

In fact although still bad, things, and even PAP themselves, have improved quite a bit since 2011.

So most likely Goh Meng Seng and party will lose again in GE 2015, just like the same Goh Meng Seng but with different party had lost in GE 2011.