Singapore — During the lengthy jobs and foreign talent policy debate in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 14), the Workers’ Party asked for greater transparency from the government on data concerning jobs, specifically regarding foreign workers.
This would allow a much better and more informed public debate, according to Workers’ Party head and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh.
This was echoed by fellow WP MP Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC), who called on the government “to institute a freedom of information initiative that will guarantee the full release of accurate and complete trade, production, and labor market data, insofar as they pertain to the study of our FTAs.”
In Assoc Prof Lim’s speech, which can be found in full here, the Sengkang MP said that Freedom of information is “a routine practice in countries worldwide, from advanced economies like Australia, the European Union, and the United States, to developing nations as diverse as Brazil, Moldova, and Sri Lanka.”
He added that the availability of information, “albeit suitably anonymised if necessary,” would allow “researchers and interested members of the public to come to their own conclusions,” as well as serve to correct the wrong perceptions “that this government has routinely railed against.”
“If we truly believe that FTAs have been good for our country, we have nothing to fear in releasing these data for further study and scrutiny,” he added.
According to UNESCO, “Freedom of Information (FOI), or the right to information, can be defined as the right to access information held by public bodies. It is an integral part of the fundamental right of freedom of expression.”
Mr Singh acknowledged that asking the government for greater transparency calls for “a change of culture.”
He added that the government should have done this years ago, long before CECA “entered the public lexicon in the way it has done in the past months.”
The WP leader added that the government’s ‘“reactive” approach of releasing data when it suits the authorities, instead of a proactive one that suits the public, would no longer hold water.
The desire to interrogate facts will only increase, he said, adding that the government must take some responsibility for the “groundswell” of misinformation about CECA. /TISG
Follow us on Social Media
Send in your scoops to firstname.lastname@example.org