Friday, February 05, 2010

SM Goh : No U-turn in foreigner policy

'If you look at the last decade, we wanted to grow fast. And there were opportunities to grow fast. Employers were crying for workers. We were trying to tighten the dependency on foreign workers, but the demand for goods and services from Singapore was high, so we liberalised. Then once we reach the limit, you've got to tighten' - SM Goh
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You notice there is a total lack of consistency in what the our leaders have been saying with regard to foreign worker policy. This time SM Goh talks about another 2 reasons for bringing in foreign workers - "employers were crying for workers" and "demand for goods and services from Singapore was high". Can anyone tell which employer anywhere in the world wouldn't want to hire foreigners at far lower wages than locals? I'm sure every employer in Norway or Sweden wants to bring in as many Portuguese or Eastern European workers as possible into his company to cut wage costs. The difference between the govt of those countries and the PAP is they understand the negative impact of a big influx on their citizens and did not go for such a thoughtless policy instead they encourage employers to use local labor more effectively and intelligently. As for the remark about the demand for goods and service "being high", this is true for every country from S. Korea to Australia when the global economy is strong - none of these countries did what Singapore did. In S. Korea I'm sure employers would have greatly benefitted if they displaced 30% of their workforce with cheaper foreigners and that would have yielded much higher profits for Samsung and LG - but their concern for their own citizens prevented them from doing that.
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Why did SM Goh feel so compelled to answer to the cries of employers ? What about the cries of ordinary citizens - the poorest of whom saw their wages falling over the past 10 years and what about the cries of those who can no longer afford the high cost of living in Singapore.

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No U-turn in foreigner policy
By Jeremy Au Yong, Political Correspondent
MANAMA (Bshrain) - THE Government's recent moves to slow the influx of foreigners do not mark a 'sudden turnaround' in policy, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday.
Rather, it is simply a recognition that the country is nearing what it can accommodate. While foreign worker numbers may still rise, it will now grow more slowly.
Speaking to Singapore reporters in Bahrain at the end of a six-day visit to the Middle East, SM Goh explained that Singapore needed to be open to foreign workers in the past to fuel its rapid growth.
'If you look at the last decade, we wanted to grow fast. And there were opportunities to grow fast. Employers were crying for workers. We were trying to tighten the dependency on foreign workers, but the demand for goods and services from Singapore was high, so we liberalised. Then once we reach the limit, you've got to tighten,' he said.
The Government, he said, constantly monitors its policies and tweaks them where needed.
'Past models which have worked may not work in the future, so we've got to constantly monitor, adjust when necessary, sometimes even discard. But in our case it's modifying the model, not discarding the old model,' he said.

21 comments:

lim said...

After election, and if pap still gets the mandate, I think we can see a them singing the same tune again. About how much we needed foreigners to grow our economy, create jobs for singaporeans, etc..

I used to think that it is good enough as long as we don't give them 2/3 majority, but now I think it is better if pap becomes the minority in parliament..

Onlooker said...

As mr Sim of Creative technology put it.

The NUTS "No U turn Syndrome".

Kind of pathetic that the only space that is protected now is politics where they made all those poorly conceived policies.

Well you know the old programming analogy: Garbage in(parliament) == Garbage out (harebrain policy that only benefit a few).

What to do? Vote wisely.

Anonymous said...

These papist nincompoops cannot be believed let alone trust anymore. Years of luxurious living have dull their mninds and senses. We are getting very mediocre people at the top and they are screwing up the lives of Singaporeans especially the poor and those earning average wages. The really good Singaporeans are unwilling to be tainted by being a papist.

Anonymous said...

Everything has changed a lot in Singapore, except politics, especially politicians (both sides). So far that is.

What is the cause? And will these change?

Anonymous said...

I hate it when PAP harps on economic growth, as though it is the solution to all our problems.

Most of us locals did not benefit from the economic growth. Many of us did not see our salaries increase.

In fact, with economic growth, many of us saw our salaries and buying power shrink!!

The cheap foreign labour had depressed our wages, spiked rentals, forced our prices up. ERP is up, GST is up, housing is up, bills are up. The only thing down is our pay.

Anonymous said...

VOTE WISELY@@

hahahaha

Anonymous said...

After the election, they may increase FT massively again and they tell you:

WITH THEM , WE CREATE A MUCH MUCH BIGGER PIE AND EVERY SINGAPOREANS WILL HAVE A BIG BIG BITE AND NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND. hahahahaha.

Any concrete talk will start from them hiring those OLDER WORKERS WHO HAVE GONE FOR RETRAININGGGGGG.

THINK VERY VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU VOTE.

Anonymous said...

"WITH THEM , WE CREATE A MUCH MUCH BIGGER PIE AND EVERY SINGAPOREANS WILL HAVE A BIG BIG BITE AND NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND. hahahahaha."

no laugh. true leh. ^_^

Anonymous said...

of coz gotta answer employers cries. improve local economy. ministers then justify with raising their own pay and bonus for the 'excellent' move and 'talented' ideas. ordinary citizens? who cares. they will just come out with lame reason to smoke and hope singaporeans are still as brainless as in the past.

Anonymous said...

"Why did SM Goh feel so compelled to answer to the cries of employers ? What about the cries of ordinary citizens - the poorest of whom saw their wages falling over the past 10 years and what about the cries of those who can no longer afford the high cost of living in Singapore."

SM Goh only hear $$$$$$$$$.

Wages has been fallen for the last ten year. We have graduates, in their forties and fifties, with higher education qualification and vast experiences work as taxi-driver, securtiy guard, general workers, etc while all those mid and higher level goes to FT. And not all FT are cheap.

My Supervisor is a FT while I work as a general worker. That MNC has earlier reject my application for an executive position but later accept my application for a position which is the lowerest grade in the company.

That is what happening in Sin city.

Anonymous said...

If PAP gets a mandate, it means that ordinary Singaporeans like us will lose our jobs.

PAP is importing FTs in huge numbers that threaten our jobs in all sectors. The only sector FTs have not threatened us in is in doing NS and reservist duties.

PAP is even building HDB rental flats for the FTs. How can we compete with FTs; we with our heavy housing loans against a cheap $170 a month rental room FT?

A vote for PAP is a vote for losing our jobs.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that this a Govt that has no qualms about putting their own interest above the citizens interest. They can say anything to get their way. Now that we can sense that election is near, they will surely say that things are slowing down.

Another thing I am really quite pissed is that they shift the blame to the people and also to the employers. It is like saying that because the drug addicts are crying for more heroin and so we allow heroin to come in legally.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lim,

My teacher used to tell me: "The machinery is there. Run it! The government is just singing a NEW TUNE to an old song."

How true.

So I learned not to trust a group of men who have been in unquestionable power for almost half a century blindly. They have turned greedy now. They are concerned with the HAVEs and the HAVEs MORE. Not with the HAVES and the HAVES NOT.

It's time for Singapore to follow Malaysia for a reformation.

Anonymous said...

Singapore is becoming too unbearable. So many people are squeezing pass one another. I can't look ahead when I walk. I can't stroll leisurely. They are people everywhere. It's getting noisier and noisier. It's getting more and more stressful. We're now the second most populated country in the world. And we're an island, mid you. This policy is fucking ridiculous 'cos the ministers and their families won't need to deal with it. We have to fucking deal with it. I'm migrating to a less crowded nation. I can't breathe here. No wonder so many are taking up yoga.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_population_density

Anonymous said...

About ten years ago, when Singaporeans argued not to have RA movies in the cinemas, SM Goh said that this matter has been debated before.

A time will come, my fellow Singaporeans, when they increase their pay, and we're like, "How the fuck that you get multi-million dollar salaries with such mediocre work?"

Lee Hsien Loong's son, who is now the future PM will say: "Look! This matter has been debated before. It is not new."

I love this technique that they use. They employ the media to hasten Singaporeans' memories to oblivion. I also 'like' how they make us Singaporean rats run so much and so fast to our graves that we even don't have time to question the bullcrap that they throw at us.

They are really afraid to lose control, eh?

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_population_density

Anonymous said...

LKY was overheard chatting on the phone after the last 2006 election: "Time is power. Control the Singaporeans' time and you control your stay in power."

And the Singaporean replies: "Err, what talking you?"

Leo said...

The government is afraid that the over-populated foreigners taking away your children's jobs will be the ripple that set up the wave or storm at the next election.

It is a waiting bomb issue. Singapore is becoming a pressure cooker to live in.

Anonymous said...

just to add to the wikipedia link that i read based on population density (it's strange tho that macau enjoys a higher rank than HK, which kinda instinctively sounds wrong. for monaco, i guess people are there to escape taxes but they dun technically live there).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_real_population_density_%28based_on_food_growing_capacity%29

we are worse in HK in terms of growing at least some of our own food.

James said...

We have to endure unfair competitions with people who do not even serve NS. While top officials pretty much have no competition with the oppositions stifled. Even if they mess up in terms of policies or the handling of funds.

Kyaw Tun said...

Interesting