After Monday’s (Jan 6) argument between Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Workers’ Party’s (WP) Pritam Singh concerning a breakdown of recent employment numbers for Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs), former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng took to social media to weigh in on the incident.
In a social media post yesterday (Jan 9), Mr Cheng said that he personally did not see “any useful consequence from this line of inquiry” in asking about Singapore citizen (SGC) and Permanent Resident (PR) employment levels for each sector.
He added, “Every sector is critical to Singapore. More importantly, there are high paying jobs as well as low paying jobs in each sector. Are we saying that there is a particular sector that is better than others and that we should protect those sectors (if even possible, given globalisation), for Singaporeans? Moreover, every sector is interlinked – employment in one sector increases employment in another”.
“Therefore, it’s the TOTAL number that matters”, Mr Cheng concluded.
His remarks come after Mr Pritam tabled a question that asked for the number of jobs for each sector under the Industry Transformation Maps to be broken down based on three categories—citizens, PRs and foreign workers.
The WP leader asked for more specific data in order to have more fact-based conversations on the matter, and also to avoid “a corrosive conversation about Singaporeans losing jobs to foreigners, et cetera”.
Mr Cheng then posed: “But perhaps I am wrong, and the Workers Party has some brilliant micro-analysis that will be revealed if a sectoral breakdown is given.
The Government should give these numbers. They must give these numbers. They said they have nothing to hide and can give them. Pritam has said he will file more questions to get these numbers.”
He asked if upon receiving the numbers will the Workers’ Party come up with economic insights, “Or will they follow up and demand even more statistical breakdowns e.g of how many citizens vs PRs get paid above 5k etc. And keep asking and cherry-picking until they find the right statistic they want to show that Singaporeans are worse off than PRs”.
“If they do, then they are, like they now stand accused, just trying to create disunity, drive imaginary wedges in society, and promote xenophobia”, he concluded. /TISG