Singaporeans Suffer Under Foreign Talent Policy Tuesday, Jan 16 2007 

Source: SDP

The recent report showing that 70 percent of jobs created in 2006 went to foreigners is not a revelation.

In 2003, a group of professors from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) reported that three out of four jobs created in the past five years went to foreigners.

Then, the Ministry of Manpower immediately issued a statement to denounce the NTU’s findings and produced its own figures: That nine out of ten newly created jobs went to the locals.

The professors quickly withdrew their report, citing computational errors.

The SDP had, at that time, asked the Government to hold an inquiry to ascertain the truthfulness of the economists’ report and not merely bully them into silence.

Four years have passed and it is clear that the professors were right. Worse, Singaporeans have had to continue to suffer in silence under the PAP Government’s ill-conceived policy even though it is reported that a majority of people want a more judicious application of foreign talent (Sunday Times, 14 Jan 07).

The Singapore Democrats repeat our stand: The foreign talent policy must be re-examined so that only foreigners with the requisite skills are allowed to work in Singapore.

We proposed the Singaporeans First Policy back in 2001 where we wanted foreigners to get the jobs only when we cannot find Singaporeans with the necessary skills to do them.

The PAP Government is desperately trying to make-up for the stunted population growth that resulted from its cruel and myopic Stop-at-Two family planning policy by flooding the society with foreign nationals.

The resultant economic and social consequences from such an unthinking move will yet manifest themselves in horrendous ways, if they have not already.

In addition, the Government refuses to acknowledge that the slow birthrate in Singapore is primarily due to the high cost of living and stressful lifestyle in our society which deters couples from wanting more children.

It also ignores the fact that the exodus of Singaporeans, most of whom possess talent and skills our country needs, to other countries is a result of the suffocating system created by the PAP.

It is clear that the Government not only has no intention of owning up to these problems it created, but now seeks to plaster over them by encouraging the indiscriminate influx of foreign workers.

Its main objective, of course, is to suppress the wages of working Singaporeans so that we can claim to be a “competitive” economy.

This race to the bottom is doomed to failure. It merely exploits the vulnerable to make the vulnerable even more vulnerable. It also ensures that while the rich get richer, the poor are consigned to an even bleaker future.

It escapes no one that the ministers continue to peg their salaries to the richest of the rich in Singapore, and ignore the plight of ordinary Singaporeans. The Government is able to do this only because the people have had their voices taken away.

The only remedy to this, and other problems that citizens face, is for the people to regain their political rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. Only when citizens are able to physically congregate en masse and speak freely will the Government sit-up and pay attention.

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party

From article19: Do also read the speech Population, Immigration and Rooting Singaporeans by Sylvia Lim, Chairman of the Workers Party.

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Thais Lash Out At Singapore For Letting In Thaksin Tuesday, Jan 16 2007 

by Nopporn Wong-Anan

BANGKOK, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Thailand’s military government suspended a nine-year-old exchange programme with Singapore on Tuesday in protest at a meeting between ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and one of the city-state’s cabinet ministers.

Having dressed down Singapore’s ambassador on Thaksin’s visit, Bangkok tore up its invitation to Foreign Minister George Yeo to a joint meeting of civil servants at the end of this month — a measure of the growing bad blood between the Southeast Asian allies.

Singapore said Thaksin’s weekend talks with Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar were private, but Thailand’s ruling generals, who cancelled his diplomatic passport less than a week ago, were not persuaded of its innocence.

“The Royal Thai Government was dissatisfied with the incident and the explanation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Kitti Wasinondh told reporters after Chan was summoned to hear a protest.

Thaksin also used his Singapore visit to give his first televised interview since his removal in a military coup on Sept. 19. He has spent most of his time since then in exile in London or Beijing, where he had declined interview requests.

The billionaire businessman, who won election landslides in 2001 and 2005 before opponents started a street campaign against him, promised to quit politics and return to private life for good.

However, no Thais got to see him telling CNN “enough is enough” as cable television operators complied with a directive from the Council for National Security (CNS) — as the generals who ousted him now call themselves — not to air Thaksin footage.

“We have sought cooperation and given guidelines to television operators on how to keep stability and unity in the country,” CNS leader and army chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin told Channel 3 television. “It is their decision.”

Anonymous Calls

No television station aired the interview, but some morning news bulletins read out international news agency reports of the interview published in the domestic press.

Thaksin denied any involvement in New Year’s Eve bombs in Bangkok that killed three people. The army and its appointed government have stopped short of blaming Thaksin explicitly, but have blamed the eight blasts on “politicians who lost power”.

Thaksin appealed to be allowed to return home to defend his name in person. Sonthi knocked down his request.

“Our national reconciliation is gradually improving, which is what we all would like to see. His return won’t do the country any good,” he said.

Staff at CNN in Bangkok, which is still officially under martial law imposed after the coup, said they had received a number of anonymous phone calls on Tuesday apparently aimed at unsettling Thai employees.

In a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal, Thaksin accused “the old elite” of being behind the coup — an apparent swipe at the Privy Council, the secretive panel which advises revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

He also said the interim, post-coup administration, which introduced capital controls in December to stem a rise in the baht and then tightened up foreign investment laws, was taking the country down the road to economic isolation.

“Whether we like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” Thaksin told the newspaper. “And to live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and society. Competition is unavoidable, so we have to prepare for it.”

Thai media had reported Thaksin also met with Wong Kan Seng, another deputy prime minister, in Singapore but this has not been confirmed.