Singapore– On June 15, The Reform Party held it’s first webinar to introduce some of its party members as well as answer some questions from the public.
One of the questions asked involved wanting to know the party’s stance on foreign students. In particular, the individual who posed the question raised their concerns about how local students are being denied places in local universities, and are competing with foreign students for these spots.
Charles Yeo, a first time candidate in the elections, took the floor. Mr Yeo responded that there “is a lot of difficulty in justifying the entry of foreigners to study in our schools”. He emphasised that “local places need to be for our local students”.
He stated that there is a serious issue in Singapore that needs to be addressed, where ” a lot of deserving poly graduates are being forced to study in private unis at high costs”. Scholarships for foreigners who study in Singapore not only take these spots from locals in universities, but also encourage them to return back to Singapore a few years down the road to compete for jobs as well.
The fact that these foreigners on scholarships do not serve National Service (NS), was an additional area of concern for Mr Yeo. For local male students, the two years dedicated to NS means that the individual would be rendered “weaker in his employment prospects”, compared to the foreign student.
With that said, Mr Yeo stressed that he is not opposed to NS. However, he believes that young men who serve NS are not “deprived” of a place in local universities.
Adding on to Mr Yeo, the party’s secretary general Kenneth Jeyaretnam stated that NS is an “unfair burden on male Singapore citizens”. Mr Jeyaretnam said that he supports the idea of NS being extended to female citizens, permanent residents and new citizens below a certain age. For those who serve NS and would therefore lose two years worth of earnings, Mr Jeyaretnam believes that they should be remunerated at the “median wage” or “people who do not serve National Service like foreigners, new citizens, people on employment passes and PRs should pay higher taxes, maybe another 10%.”-/TISG