Progress Singapore Party (PSP) secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock’s promise to call for a review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between Singapore and India is attracting considerable attention online, in the wake of the viral video involving an India-born professional that made waves over the weekend.

On Friday night (25 Oct), a video of a man verbally abusing a hapless security officer went viral on social media. In the incident, which reportedly took place at the Eight Riversuites condominium in Bendemeer, the man hurled vulgarities at the elderly guard after being told that he needed to pay parking fees for guests visiting his condominium.

Despite the security guards’ explanation that they are simply enforcing the rules, the condo resident continued to berate the workers. In his expletive-ridden rant, the man bragged to the security officers that he bought his condominium unit for S$1.5 million. He exclaimed: “I buy your f****** property for S$1.5 million you know.”

Netizens subsequently identified the condo resident as Ramesh Erramalli, a foreign talent from India who works at global financial services company J.P. Morgan in Singapore.

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JP Morgan has since said that it is looking into the matter but declined to comment on how long Ramesh has been an employee and whether it paid for Ramesh’s alleged S$1.5 million accommodation.

The incident drew swift backlash and led many Singaporeans to criticise the CECA agreement. The bilateral free-trade agreement has been controversial among locals since it opens the floodgates for Indian nationals to migrate here and compete for jobs with Singaporeans with greater ease. Many locals see this clause as unfair since Singaporeans are less likely to migrate to India in return.

A video of Dr Tan Cheng Bock promising to call for a review of the CECA agreement is now re-circulating online. Although the clip is a few months old, it has received over 24,000 views and about 1,000 reactions on Facebook in a matter of hours.

In the clip that was taken at a PSP event in August, Dr Tan said: “We need to ensure job priority for Singaporeans…PSP will call for a review of the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, known as CECA.

“Now this agreement, you must understand, was negotiated by our current Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat…Among the terms of CECA: allow the free movement of professionals in 127 sectors to enter and work in Singapore. 

“This has brought a lot of unhappiness with Singaporeans PMETs who feel vulnerable in their jobs and are anxious for the future.

“We need the Government to publish a balance sheet for CECA, to show how Singapore and Singaporeans have benefited from this agreement, how many local jobs have gone to Indian professionals and how many Singaporeans have gone to India. We need accountability.”