Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PM : The fix for the foreign Influx is fostering integration...

Clarification: I wrote this posting without referring to the Straits Times. Gee, should have read it for greater insight to the minds of our esteemed leaders. The Straits Times today reported that PM Lee has hinted that Singapore will admit fewer foreigners because the economy has slowed [Link]. "We permitted the surge in recent years to respond to this extraordinary opportunity. We always knew that we couldn't sustain this inflow indefinitely," PM Lee said to NTU students yesterday. Yes, our leaders knew all along just that they forgot to tell us when they will stop the floodgates and let us all get some relief from the stress and strain.

".... doesn’t just depend on the government or the government’s decisions but on how open our society is and how well Singaporeans adjust to and integrate new arrivals" - PM Lee

So the issue is now with ordinary Singapore - how well they are able to adjust and integrate to the new arrivals. If ordinary Singaporeans can't adjust, our society is not open. See the problem is not the PAP govt bringing in too many foreign imports but the inability of ordinary Singaporeans to integrate and cope with the situation. Yes, it is the fault of ordinary Singaporeans again. Their inability to cope with higher HDB prices, inability to secure jobs when they are above 40, the inability of the lower income to live on lower pay and dislike for overcrowded sardine packed public transport are the real issues.

".....we must have a sustained, calibrated inflow of immigrants"
- PM Lee

"Sir, you give a new meaning to the word 'calibrated'"
- Lucky Tan

If you take away the handful of oil-rich Arab states where foreign workers do everything and the locals benefit greatly from the oil wealth, Singapore has the highest number of foreign imported labour per capita in the world. Businesses still are clamoring for easing of foreign workers quota[Link] saying they can't get Singapore number of foreign workers is enough for businesses for the simple reason that foreign workers from 3rd world countries are so much cheaper.....if possible, they would prefer to replace all their Singapore workers with foreigners to lower their cost of doing business and maximise profits. Businesses have to start hiring older workers because there is a large and ready pool here. They have to start negotiating for lower rentals & other business costs as cost of labor goes up to keep total business costs down. Income inequality is a big problem in our society and businesses have been the major beneficiary of the foreign workers policy as profits as a % of GDP rose to record levels in the past 10 years,,,,it is time to restore some balance. There is no free lunch.

PM Lee says Singapore will make greater efforts at fostering integration

Channel NewsAsia - Wednesday, September 16

SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke at length on Tuesday evening, to some 1,500 students at the Nanyang Technological University on Singapore’s immigration policy and also gave the assurance that the interest of citizens will always come first.


Mr Lee explained that it was important for the issue to be discussed with the students because it concerned their future and eventually would be taken forward by their generation.

He said that the country will make greater efforts at fostering integration of new arrivals and that the National Integration Council will announce its initiatives soon.

"This is not a one problem you can solve one off, just answer an exam paper and settled. But it is a continuing issue with no final solution, where you have to manage it, decide, adjust your policy from time to time and as circumstances changed, adapt it in order to keep on going forward. And it’s a problem where what we do doesn’t just depend on the government or the government’s decisions but on how open our society is and how well Singaporeans adjust to and integrate new arrivals. And that depends on you, as your enter the workforce, work, settle your families and become the next generation of Singaporeans, what kind of Singapore you want," said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He said that while Singaporeans understand the need for immigrants and foreign workers, they still have some concerns given the large inflow in the last few years.

When the Singapore economy was booming the country admitted many foreigners — more than 100,000 per year in recent years. Mr Lee, however, said the country will not continue to admit people at this pace as the nation cannot expect to continue booming as in the last few years.

So over the long term while Singapore needs to continue bringing in immigrants, it will be mindful of how quickly its society can absorb and integrate new arrivals.

"In the midst of all these discussions about Singaporeans and non—Singaporeans, I should emphasise one point— that in Singapore, the interests of citizens have to always come first. Not a short term interest but a long term interest. It is to safeguard the long term interest of Singaporeans, we must have a sustained, calibrated inflow of immigrants. We will make this differentiation sharper over time to reflect the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. But we cannot make it so onerous for PRs and non—residents that nobody wants to come," Mr Lee said.

Furthermore, he mentioned that Singapore’s critical constraint isn’t with physical space but with its people — that with more good people, the country can generate new and creative ideas to expand the space and create more opportunities.

At the start of his speech, Mr Lee also had a word on the Singapore economy for his audience.

He said the third quarter economic forecast didn’t look bad.

But he cautioned that the nation must be psychologically prepared for a slow pickup and even surprises like a W—shaped recovery.


Anonymous said...

More integration, Singaporean men. Bear with more NS duties to protect the new immigrants hor. Dun complain so much hor.
You cannot cope hor, dun blame the goverment hor. blame yourselves.

Anonymous said...

"long term interest of Singaporeans"

and just what does that mean? and even so, who decides what it ought to be? The government, the PAP or the people themselves?

what foreign influx? said...

Well isn't that a surprise. It's the people's fault again for failing to adjust our selfish ways and embrace 1 million FTs with open arms. It's our fault that Mas Selamat got away because we were 'complacent'. It's our fault for getting ripped off by toxic financial products as well since we were 'naive'. Surely we must also be to blame for Temasek and GIC losing $100B between them too, since we were stupid enough to give his party a blank cheque to sodomise us anytime they please.

Cherian George uses the wonderful phrase "calibrated coercion" to describe the modus operandi of the PAP and that neatly describes the PM's speech. Did anyone notice the implied threat: we "must have a sustained, calibrated inflow of immigrants" with an unspoken 'OR ELSE' tacked on the end? Of course it's all done to safeguard OUR interests, not his.

In the short space of 3 years since becoming PM he has ruthlessly ensured that 1 in every 3 Singaporean residents is now a foreigner and he has the cheek to call that "a calibrated inflow"??? Jeeze, I hate to think what "sustained" immigration must mean in that Alice In Wonderland world he seems to live in.

Anonymous said...

If the pap had told you 2 elections ago : "We have no solution to let you maintain your relatively high salaries.

So we have to ENGINEER a inflow of FTs into this little red dot as an excuse to lower blue collar Sg workers' salaries. Of course, it'll be political suicide if we told you that directly."

Now that the MIW has decimated the blue collar worker's salaries, their objective is achieved, so naturally they dont need so many FTs anymore.

In the coming elections, they have to be held accountable for their actions.

Jezebella said...

While I agree that Singaporeans should adjust to and integrate foreigners, but that is NOT the fix to the foreign influx.

Why are we paying such a high salary to people who refuse to fix our problems properly?

Anonymous said...

of course, they knew this rate of influx cldn't be sustained infinitely. didn't the old man say the target was like 7 to 9 million people?

i bet they had plans to increase the number to that previously, but backtracked when they saw the mess they created with just 5 million pple.

vote pap, and you'll enjoy integration programmes planned by the national integration council! lolololololo....

Anonymous said...

I say we vote them out and end the saga. No point going round and round in circles. Up to their dying breath, it's about their multi-million salaries. They are not doing the job of a government - that is take care of the welfare of the people of Singapore. And they will never change. Once a greedy ghost, forever a greedy ghost. Singaporeans are always the first line of sacrifice and the piggy bank to break in case of emergency e.g bad gambling debts. I've had enough - next government please. The people of Singapore are the collective employers of all these super fat cats, any shareholder wants the CEO to benefit the shareholder, not enrich himself to impoverish the shareholder - enough.

Anonymous said...

This so-called "calibrated inflow" of foreign workers began while Ng Eng Hen was the Manpower Minister.

Ng has since been shelved into a safer and lower profile portfolio after he pushed the unpopular CPF Annuity scheme through.

We must thank Ng Eng Hen "handsomely" for our current state, even though MIW are trying their best to shelter their axe-man.

Ender said...

The PM can suggest all these ideas as he is protected by an iron rice bowl as well as a lucrative pension and is quite immune to all the consequences that it brings. He has no immediate financial worries for his family.

Perhaps he can help to convince the man who job was competed away by a foreign worker who offers to work for less. Would that man be willing to accept the much lower terms that the market dictate which means slow but sure starvation for his family as well as bleaker prospects for his children?

As long as the tax money is flowing irrespective of its source or reasons, the public sector is able to sustain its cushy pay level and be immuned to the vissitudes of competition in the private sector.

The public sector incentives are not pegged to welfare of the fellow countrymen but to that of the Singapore economy irrespective of whether the economic players are local or foreign. They can thrive even on the sufferings of other Singapore citizens as long as economic pie grows.

Perhaps the well meaning PM has been infatuated by the falutin economic ideas in "Open Society and Its Enemies" without realising that an open society also require an atmosphere free intellectual thoughts and fair (but not necessary equal) treatment for the participants for its acceptance.

If one group is marginalised or sacrificed for the benefit of another, it is fair to assume that the noble idea of Open Society will be actively resisted to the detriment of all.

This is because the only perverted form and not the whole idea of Open Society is preached.

Anonymous said...

interest of citizens will always come first.

Elections on the way?

In the coming elections, they have to be held accountable for their actions.

Like landslide victories for
-Mah Bow Tan (HDB very affordable)
-Khaw (Send u to JB)
-MM Lee (highfartin)
-PM Lee (my wife did a good job)
-Wong Kan Seng(Where's Selamat?)

Ping Pong MP's fight could be interesting. Which GRC is she in?

PS: Ben Bananakid says recession over. Can buy stocks?


Anonymous said...

why is the integration of foreigners our problem?

its the businesses and the government who needs the foreign workers.

and an unrelated point but something that have been in my mind for some time.

LKY is so concern about a government other than PAP touching the reserves - spent 15 years and still no answer and if necessary even to use the Army to stage a coup - because there may be nothing in it. Thus the great concern.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

"Yes, our leaders knew all along just that they forgot to tell us when they will stop the floodgates and let us all get some relief from the stress and strain."

If this will lead to a real change in policy then I say that is good news. At least they are signalling their willingness to adjust.

The government's next difficult challenge is to undo the pent-up resentment caused by years of their "calibrated inflow", eg. repressed unhappiness between Singaporean workers and employers, social fragmentation due to culture clashes, mutual suspicion etc.

Anonymous said...

Sure, go ahead and believe them. Can anyone remember the "long-term investments that Merill Lynch was supposed to be?" And the next thing, sold for a huge loss. I think it's just another wayang show before elections. After that, sinkies, the tune will change again, "you are lazy, complacent, foreigners are grateful and deserving, we need to jack up the population to 10m to keep the GDP growing and sustain our salaries..." if you are fooled twice, then you are the real fool.

Anonymous said...

There is always a 2nd chance, or more if something goes wrong here. Just stop or reverse the decision. No damage as far as the ballot box or peace in the streets is concerned.

The country will be peaceful and stable no matter what. Proven for over 40 years. Same for the next 20 years.

This is uniquely Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Know why they want Singaporeans to integrate with foreigners, most of whom are PRCs? Because LKY wants Singapore to be China's extension within 2 generations.

I must say I am sick of this PRC affair. They don't try to integrate to local etiquette precisely because of our leaders' mentality. They behave as if this is their country because they know they can get away with it.

LHL is only paying lip service. Probably still haven't got enough new citizens to boost their election numbers. I have never seen such desperate leaders who are afraid they might their precious foreigners away.

Anonymous said...

...they might scare their precious foreigners away.

If our country is as great as they have claimed credit for, foreigners will automatically come. Don't have to beg and cajole. That will only bring in the lower grade leftovers.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a government that has in place measures to ensure its continuity is independent of "popularist" sentiments?

Anonymous said...

"Know why they want Singaporeans to integrate with foreigners, most of whom are PRCs? Because LKY wants Singapore to be China's extension within 2 generations."

It is a pact between China and LKY. If you go to China, you find out that LKY want to leave his legacy in China by building his footprint, name and physical presence (like HDB, resource) into China.

Anonymous said...

Why are we letting in so many foreigners when we are so small? When we want to follow, for example, the US style of attracting talents, did we ever consider the fact that our size is the greatest limiting factor?

Isn't it rather late to talk about caring for citizens first, when most of the foreign worker's policies have already done citizens in? Everything, from housing, to hospitals, schools, jobs etc have brought much anxiety and distress to many. Now that most citizens are already bankrupted by the housing policy, it is of little consolation to talk about being caring.

Yeah, I think an election is coming soom.

someone sad for singapore said...

He think he talking to kids at primary school iziit?!

University students aren't idiots believing that citizens come first.

Oh please!

There's so many foreign fuckers in Singapore when we should have stopped them so many years ago!

Integration my ass!

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Anonymous said...

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to notice the problems years ago...crowded MRT,shopping malls,parks,shopping centers etc. "Calibrated" may sound professional but the damaged has already been done. What were all those men in white doing all these years ? Too busy in IR project, FI race, Youth Olympicsto and ignore the sufferings of your fellow citizens ??

Anonymous said...

Our local businesses seem amazed that local workers refuse to accept low pay for long working hours and poor conditions.

Bosses who drive to work in merz, and pay themselves handsomely each month are amazed that locals refuse to accept $1200 a month to work 12 hour shifts each day, 7 days a week, with only 2 days off each month.

Our millionaire ministers are grossly removed from reality, and they think locals are too fussy. So, we need more foreign talent.

Anonymous said...

The next election we should know better than to vote based on promises.

We must vote based on what promises made during the last election have been fulfilled so far.

Can anyone think of any?

Anonymous said...

We need leaders with a heart that that does not monetize anything and everything. The drive to create wealth has put at risk the citizens' needs. We need jobs, prices of homes within our reach, time with our family and friends, to retire when we the time is ripe etc. These are what we want and not have more foreigners to take up our valued space, our jobs, increase property prices etc., all because of some highfalutin ideas that these foreigners are what we citizens want. We are fed up and it is time to tell them they are not working to serve us. As many here have written, you die your business which is the motto of our government.

Anonymous said...

Leaders with a heart ? Ever since the Minibond saga which affected thousands of innocent investors I can't remember PM showing concern or even talk about it.

family man said...


today's straits times reported that $10mil will be spent on parties for these foregin talent to make them integrate -
jeeze - what these money can do for our poor and needy.


Anonymous said...

They probably think that it is better to suck up to the FTs - hopefully they can get a few more votes... I think the true-blue Singaporeans have seen their true colours and are sick and tired of them...ok, so now we know their priorities, it's never about the poor and needy, never about the everyday singaporean, it's always about me, my family, my salary and how do I ensure I can stay in power forever... if the people want another government, replace the people! LOL

Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it but I think we have run out of time to voting more opposition MPs into parliament now.

PAP must have converted enough new immigrants and spreading them all over all consituencies by the time the next GE is called.

1) spend $10 million to integrate new citizen
2) spend $100 million to host APEC
3) lost $40 billion by PM's wife
4) ONLY SPEND $100K for hospice patient subsidy

well done PAP! Bravo LSL!

Anonymous said...

Ah, the courtship is always sweet but the marriage is suffering right? The government is only afraid of FTs when they are FTs. When they have converted to Sinkies, then they will join our fate - and sooner and later they will start complain about the cost of living, jobs being stolen by new FTs, depressed salaries, HDB flats out of reach's just a matter of time...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have been enlightened. I need to integrate. I am going to Geyland to screw a PRC pros today. Wonder if I can get some money from the fund for my integration efforts.

Anonymous said...

Just saw a nice chick in Geyland. You could tell that she is from PRC. I can't wait integrate with her tonight.

Anonymous said...

Gahmen say no free lunch but their lunch are by singaporean taxpayer and not foreigners lor...

Anonymous said...

1) spend $10 million to integrate new citizen

Yup, there is no need to spend $10 million when integration already happens at Geylang.

Anonymous said...

"17/9/09 12:18
and sooner and later they will start complain about the cost of...."

Have the same inkling that the real good show is yet to come.... given the different exposure that foreigners used to have back home....

Anonymous said...

more than anything, it seems to be the elections platform that is being calibrated at the moment.

Gerard said...


I write to you from the Blogtv team at Channel NewsAsia. Blogtv is a live talkshow on CNA every Thursday at 9.30pm, and its concurrently streamed on the web with users being able to interact 'live' via the shoutbox.

The topic for this Thursday is "The Singapore Mix". We will be discussing the newly formed National Integration Council and examining the issue of immigrant integration - how necessary/ effective / superficial.

We would like to invite you as one of our starbloggers for the week. Would you be keen to pen a piece in relation to the topic? This would go up on our website at

Do let me know!


Anonymous said...

Hi Gerald,

The results of the online survey done at

Quick Poll

1. Do you agree that foreign workers contribute to the long term growth of Singapore?
40.1% 61
50.0% 76
I am not sure
9.9% 15
Total Votes 152

2. With regards to newcomers in Singapore, which of the following are of greater concern to you? (Please choose two)
Competition from these newcomers
44.0% 44
Different cultures and habits
38.0% 38
Changes to the social landscape by these newcomers
36.0% 36
Relative treatment between citizens and PRs
36.0% 36
I am not sure
15.0% 15
Total Votes 100

3. With regards to clear distinction between citizens and PRs, which of the following are of greater concern to you? (Please choose two)
Public housing subsidies
57.6% 57
Educational subsidies
48.5% 48
Healthcare subsidies
48.5% 48
I am not sure
20.2% 20
Total Votes 99

4. Are you reassured by PM?s speech that the interest of Singapore citizens will always come first?
21.1% 32
58.6% 89
I am not sure
20.4% 31
Total Votes 152