Singapore Democratic Party’s secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan takes aim at the foreign worker levy policy, citing examples from the food and beverage industry, which he said is wayward economic governance at the expense of society.

Posting on his Facebook, Dr Chee said; “I’m, of course, referring to the collection of fees and other charges (e.g., foreign worker levy, COEs, ERPs) which is an easy way of lining state coffers but has a pernicious effect on the people.”

But for Dr Chee, is not advocating an open-gate policy for businesses to hire foreigners. He is merely looking at the problems that some food and beverage owners are facing at the moment. He definitely would be able to empathise with them, as he is currently operating two outlets; his second recently opened at Marina Square in late August.

“Let’s start with the F&B business. It’s become axiomatic that sourcing staff for restaurants are stuff of nightmares. I came across a restaurant that was almost pleading with customers not to be abusive to its staff because of the long waiting times due to staff shortage. This is partly due to the lack of workers skilled in the area of F&B. How the situation deteriorated to such an extent is another discussion,” explained the SDP secretary-general.

See also  "He has given all what he can for Singaporeans" - Chiam See Tong's 40-year political career draws to an end

“And because there is such a shortage of locals for the sector, F&B operators have had to turn to employing foreigners. The PAP then exploits the situation by charging – gratuitously – a foreign worker levy of several hundred dollars per worker.”

Dr Chee wonders whether such a pricing mechanism is necessary to control the number of foreign workers being employed in Singapore and that it is wholly unnecessary and serves only as a source of easy money for the state. 

The foreign worker levy is not restricted to the F&B industry only. It is most needed in the construction sector and this is highlighted by Dr Chee too, “the construction sector also needs a multitude of foreign workers. Each contractor/sub-contractor building your HDB flat pays enormous sums on levies. This cost is passed onto HDB, a cost which you end up paying when you buy a flat – a double boon for the government.”

The SDP’s secretary-general believes that all these contribute to the exorbitant cost of living in Singapore, which makes it highly stressful, resulting in younger couples opting for fewer children.

“… in turn, gives the PAP the opportunity to declare a procreation crisis and open the immigration gates even wider – all the while collecting billions in revenue from employers of foreign workers.”

With two café outlets to manage efficiently, does not deter Dr Chee from his responsibility to his party, and more importantly his passion for politics.

See also  PAP's Murali Pillai to Dr Chee: Full-time MPs will have the same blind spots

“This must stop. This is why my SDP colleagues and I continue to work towards the next GE. Many of you have asked me whether I will continue in politics since I opened Orange & Teal. I say again, until this old heart of mine stops beating, I will never stop speaking up for this nation, for our people.”