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Leong Mun Wai: “The assumption that foreign talent is the silver bullet… is turning into a fallacy”

"The assumption that foreign talent is the silver bullet to boost our population, reduce business cost and create jobs for Singaporeans, all at same time is turning into a fallacy."

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Singapore — NCMP Leong Mun Wai explained the Progress Singapore Party’s vision on rebalancing the foreign talent model in a Facebook post on Thursday (Sept 9) in view of the motion on the jobs debate he filed on Aug 31.

“The assumption that foreign talent is the silver bullet to boost our population, reduce business cost and create jobs for Singaporeans, all at same time is turning into a fallacy. The Government has inadvertently let in a larger number of foreigners than what our society can accommodate.”

The debate, the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament wrote, is scheduled for next Tuesday, Sept 14.

He noted, however, that a similar motion from Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is also tabled for debate on the same day.

Mr Leong then clarified the difference between the two motions. His motion centres around the “widespread anxiety among Singaporeans on jobs and livelihoods caused by the foreign talent policy.”

As for Mr Wong’s motion, filed on Sept 8, the first point is similar. It reads, “That this House… acknowledges Singaporeans’ anxieties about jobs and competition in a globalized and fast-changing economy.”

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However, it adds the following points, that Parliament:

  • affirms Singapore’s needs to stay open and connected to the world in order to grow and prosper;
  • supports Government actions to manage the population of foreign manpower, ensure fair treatment by employers, and invest in education and upskilling, to create more good jobs for Singaporeans;
  • deplores attempts to spread misinformation about free trade agreements like the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), stir up racism and xenophobia, and cause fear and anxiety amongst Singaporeans.

Mr Leong wrote in his post that he is “looking forward to have an open, objective and fruitful debate in Parliament, with the aim of forging a consensus on how to rebalance the Foreign Talent Model. I certainly hope we will not be bogged down with unhelpful political posturing and labelling that obscures the real issue at hand; but arrive at agreeable and concrete decisions.”

He added that what is at the heart of the matter is “jobs and livelihood of Singaporeans” adding that the job market “badly needs readjustment to foster fair competition between Singaporeans and foreign workers.”

The PSP NCMP clarified that the party “subscribes to foreigners working in our midst” and that the “labour force imbalance” is not their fault. 

“The root cause can be traced to our Foreign Talent Policy, conceptualised in the late 1990s but only mandated in the Population White Paper of 2013,” he added.

“We hope that all our foreign friends will understand that this rebalancing is necessary for the sustainability and benefit of both parties. It does not mean that we want a closed Singapore. We certainly do not encourage a “Us vs.Them” mentality.

Rather, this rebalancing is to place our economic cooperation on a firmer footing for a more rewarding relationship going forward. We will always need you to complement our Singaporean Core,” the NCMP wrote.

/TISG

Read also: After PSP tables motion on jobs debate, Ong Ye Kung says it “appears intent on carrying campaign against CECA”

After PSP tables motion on jobs debate, Ong Ye Kung says it “appears intent on carrying campaign against CECA”

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