My sister, a community volunteer, told me what she saw with her own eyes. A PAP minister was showing a new candidate around the estate when a resident approached them for help. The man's problem was that he was a low income earner married to a foreign wife. The man's long term visit pass(LTVP) has been rejected many times by the ICA and he wanted to know if the MP-to-be would help him. Before the MP-to-be could utter a few words of sympathy, the minister replied the man, "We can't please everyone". In every other developed country, when you marry someone, your spouse is granted citizenship. In Singapore, your spouse is granted citizenship only if your income is high enough. So when your income is low, not only do you have to live in poverty, the govt puts up all sorts of impediments to make it hard for you to lead a normal life.
What prompted me to tell this story is a article in The New Paper today (26 April 2011)-the article is found on page 4. The front page headlines is about Vincent Wijeysingha's sexual orientation, which is going to waste everyone's time and distract everyone from more pressing national issues. The article is about a security guard called Damien Koh who fell in love and married a Vietnamese woman. His wife was granted a LTVP but not PR (or citizenship) because he earned $1500 a month. They have 2 boys both are Singaporeans. Two weeks ago, Damien had a heart attack and passed away. The article discussed how his wife is at a lost because Damien the sponsor for her LTVP is no longer around. Luckily, the MP for the area is Lily Neo and she will try her best to help her with the LTVP . When contacted, Dr. Lily Neo said there are "many foreign spouses living in HDB rental flats in her ward".
Let me tell you what is very wrong here. If a high income man marries a foreign wife, his wife can get citizenship or PR easily and will be entitled to things like subsidised medical care (class "C" wards)etc. However, if a poor man marries a foreign wife, he may not even get a LTVP and his marriage will be strained and have a higher chance of failing. If he manages to get a LTVP (which has to be renuewed annually), his wife can stay to help look after the children but without citizenship or PR, he has to pay substantially more if his wife gets sick - unnecessarily increasing his financial strain.
Here is another case of a low income man who over 4 years was rejected 20 times by the MoM for is permit to get married because the woman he wanted to marry is a former work permit holder[Link].
Singapore has the largest income gap among developed countries and a 3rd world wage structure. Because of this, there are many hardworking Singapore men who work full time jobs but get very low income. While the PAP govt says it wants Singaporeans to procreate and lift our fertility rate which has fallen to one of the lowest in the world, they make it hard this large group of Singaporeans to get married and start a family. These men have served their national service and are expected to die for their country but are denied citizenships for their wives..... citizenship that is given out by the thousands to newcomers who do not serve NS. The new PAP candidates all came out to say they want to help the poor. So are they going to live up to their words and fight for this this unfair policy to be changed? Probably not because it is consistent with other PAP policies such as baby bouus and tax rebates that only encourages procreation only among higher income Singaporeans.