Monday, May 5, 2008

Singapore. Believe it or not, foreigners do not take jobs away from locals: PM

Ladies and Gentlemen,

According to the Singapore state controlled newspaper, the Straits Times of May 01, 2008, in the story "Foreigners do not take jobs away from locals: PM", Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister claims that the present island wide rampant anger among Singaporeans against foreign workers for taking their jobs is totally misplaced! On the contrary, he says, believe it or not, foreign workers actually help create more jobs! Wait a minute! Am I missing something here! I have read Alice in Wonderland but this statement beats even that!

As to how this can be true, defies logic. In fact it would have defied the most vivid imagination of a drug addict high on heroin!

In Singapore, there are about a million foreign workers, most of them engaged in the lower end lower skilled jobs. We all know that. We also know, there is no need for an employer to articulate a reason why foreign workers are to be admitted. They can be admitted in unlimited numbers. The only burden upon him is to pay the government a levy for each worker; thereby benefiting the government with increased revenue. Having done that he can pay the foreigner as low a wage as he wants, even $500.00 per month, if the impoverished foreigner will take it. In this manner of suppressing wages, Singaporeans looking for jobs cannot find any; and those already in jobs are fired, only to be replaced by a foreigner willing to accept even lower wages.

It should be quite clear to anyone with a head on his shoulders that foreigners take jobs away from Singaporeans and suppress wages to their detriment. Living standards of Singaporeans are lowered, they have less money, they and their families suffer, while employers benefit through lower wages and greater profits; and of course the government benefits through the collection of foreign worker levies. The sucker in this equation is the native Singaporean.

I have been told, it is in fact a disadvantage to be a Singaporean in Singapore. Imagine that! A disadvantage to be a citizen of his own country. I have been told from reliable sources that the first thing an employer asks a job applicant is whether he is a Singaporean. If he answers in the affirmative, there goes his job opportunity. In fact I have heard of the bizarre pathetic situation where desperate Singaporeans have in fact claimed that they were foreigners at job interviews, so as to increase their chances of landing the job! Such lack of compassion, such an uncaring, insensitive government can only be found in such a country like Singapore; with a Lee Kuan Yew father and son dictatorship.

So one thing is quite obvious in this situation. This indiscriminate import of cheap labor in unlimited numbers benefits foreign workers, not Singaporeans, who are in fact, on a daily basis, kicked out from their jobs, only to be replaced by a cheaper foreigner prepared to work for less.

Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister, makes a preposterous assumption that Singaporeans are not prepared to take these jobs, and therefore it is no loss to them if some foreigner takes it. This statement cannot be further from the truth. It is in fact a shameless lie.

I have personally been told by Singaporeans, already working, that they were told to accept lower pay, or else they would lose it to a foreigner! Having no choice, to feed a family of wife and children, they are compelled to reluctantly accept lower wages or else they would lose the job altogether; with no other hope but starvation.

As a result of the government increasing the cost of living essentials; in order to make ends meet, one needs to have more money. This increase in wages, makes Singapore less competitive than neighbouring countries. But the government, in the light of the higher costs of living, should not hang on to the low cost assembly line jobs which were the norm. They should let it go and move on to high end high value added industry which pays higher wages. As Lee Kuan Yew had himself said before, Singapore is the Switzerland of the east. And if so, the workforce should be paid Swiss wages with Swiss productivity levels and Swiss high tech high value added industry.

But that is not what this government is doing. Even though it is very clear that at today's costs, Singaporeans should have at least $3,000.00 per month, what Lee Kuan Yew is trying to do is is to pay workers $300.00 per month instead. Clearly the sums do not add up.

In order to compete with third world cheap wage countries, Lee brings in cheap labor foreigners, paying them third world wages in Singapore. In these circumstances the unskilled Singaporean has no choice but to accept $300.00 a month or not eat at all.

And not satisfied with deliberately hurting the livelihood of the lower income Singaporeans, to rub salt into the wound, he makes fun of the plight of the poor by mocking them by his flippant remarks.

He says foreigners are not here to take jobs from Singaporeans but to enlarge the economic pie. This is a very uncaring hurtful remark especially for Singaporeans who have lost their jobs to cheaper foreign labor. As to how the economic pie is enlarged he does not elaborate. It is quite obvious he cannot.

To add insult to injury, he makes a joke out of the plight of those who have lost their jobs. He agrees with Lim Boon Heng the minister that foreign beer ladies attracted more customers instead of locals, presumably because they are beautiful and Singapore women are ugly! Is he now insulting Singapore women as being ugly and unable to attract male customers? He than enjoys a laugh at the expense of Singaporeans who have lost their jobs saying it is a good thing to have pretty (foreign) beer ladies who will encourage Singaporeans to drink more!

He says foreigners can work long hours seven days a week while Singaporeans cannot. Therefore foreigners are better workers who will reduce costs and increase productivity and profits. A slap in the face for every Singaporean; no doubt about it. Not satisfied that he denies Singaporeans jobs; he is determined to insult them as well!

He then says with the help of foreigners the airport seaport factories etc will remain open longer hours, implying that had it been Singaporeans working at these places, these facilities would have all shut down and gone out of business!

He then says that smaller unproductive businesses can remain in business by employing cheap foreign worker at the expense of Singaporeans. What sort of economic sense this makes does boggle one's mind!

And then in his usual gibberish, he claims that foreigners are in fact an asset to Singaporeans and that we should not complain at all when our jobs are taken from us!

Reading this deliberate insult to Singaporeans, it makes my blood boil. If it does yours, then it is about time you told him so very clearly and deliberately. Arrange with the Singapore Democratic Party to hold a peaceful assembly outside his office with banners and placards, in numbers exceeding 5, with a clear message to him to stop insulting the intelligence of Singaporeans. Contrary to what he may think, Singaporeans have a brain too.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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