Friday, September 10, 2010

Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore forces foreigners to become citizens

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Singapore's state controlled newspaper the Straits Times online edition of Sept 9, 2010, there is the shocking story, "SM clarifies PR (permanent residence) renewal".

Lee Kuan Yew's Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who does not have any full time position, but whose job it appears is to make periodical speeches which take his fancy, for which by the way, he is paid $3.7 million dollars a year, is reported to have said "In the past we could just give you permanent residence without taking up Singapore citizenship. Moving forward, we are going to approach some of them to take up Singapore citizenship. If they don't then their PRs (Singapore permanent residence) will not be renewed"!

Only in Singapore where nepotism and corruption rules with draconian punishment for critics in a fear ridden society will a man who has no full time government position, and nothing to do, is paid $3.7 million dollars a year, but that story is for some other day.

But coming back to this story of forcing people to becomes Singapore citizens, what this man is saying is that Singapore is going to force people to become citizens. If you don't want to be a citizen, you would be booted out. They are not going to allow you to work there unless you become their citizen!

Frankly this is the first time I have ever heard any country doing this, and it smacks of desperation. Mostly it is the other way round. People living in foreign countries may like it and apply for citizenship. The host country would accept qualified applicants and reject others. Citizenship should be at the request of the applicant, not the country forcing you to be one!

No country, not even Iraq or Afghanistan who have seen an exodus of people escaping the war, have forced anyone to become their citizens. This threat by Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore upon foreigners is not only desperate, it is pathetic.

Of course you know why they have stooped so low. Singapore's name has been internationally discredited as a country that hangs teenagers with the highest execution rate in the world. A place that brutally beats petty criminals (they call it "caning"). A one party state with no rule of law, and where defamation court actions is the preferred instrument to destroy political opponents.

As a result, the city state with a greatly limited land area of only 16 miles by 26 miles, has the lowest fertility rate in the world, the lowest marriage rates and a population which has been found to the unhappiest in the world. It also has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, with between 1 and 2 people taking their lives daily, the preferred method being jumping off the ubiquitous high rise apartments or by jumping onto oncoming trains and being crushed.

So it is not surprising that no one wants to become a citizen of the country preferring to spend some time there to earn some money and get the Hell out of there.

Of course there is this blog that further aggravates the situation for those in power in the island, as well as the Internet which on a daily basis tells it as it is.

Finally, this man Goh Chok Tong should realise that even if anyone became a citizen of that Alice in Wonderland island, having succumbed to the threats of deportation, what sort of citizens would they become? Not very good ones, I don't think.

I suppose I should finish by saying you can take a horse to water, you cannot make him drink.

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

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mycroft said...

Three glaring wastes of space and money blight Singapore's political landscape: Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong and S.R. Nathan. These elderly drones occupy the highest positions in the land today and are paid a king's ransom to do what drones do - which is exactly.....nothing. If these three posts were eliminated at the stroke of a pen, literally no one would even notice or care that these leeches had vanished.

Two are yet to come clean about their exact WW2 role 'translating' for the Japanese Kempeitai military police who brutalised the population during the Occupation. Curiously, despite their expertise in the Japanese language, neither has ever been known to speak Japanese in public, not once in 50 years, not even when visiting Japan on official business, not even when meeting that country's top leaders and businessmen. A curious bashfulness indeed, given the endless exhortations to learn the language of crucial trading partners, in this case the world's second most powerful economy. You would have thought they'd seize every opportunity to impress Tokyo, wouldn't you? Why so shy?

GCT was cruelly (and aptly) labelled as 'wooden' by LKY and so it has proven throughout his time as PM. Let's never forget that the rot of unchecked hordes of cheap workers depressing Singaporean's wages and taking away their jobs had its beginnings on Goh's watch. The business of obscene pay for little work was nodded through Parliament when he was at the helm. Guess who contemptuously called emigrants 'quitters', conveniently forgetting that his own daughter quit for England? And the NKF scandal exploded moments after Goh handed over the premiership to Lee Junior.

Kindly uncle Goh Chok Tong it was who made the call for a kinder, gentler Singapore in a 1991 speech. That has proven to be not worth the paper it was written on. He notoriously once promised Singaporeans that they would attain the “Swiss” standard of living in 2000 too but omitted to say it was for the few, including himself, not for the many. Given this depressing track record of saying one thing and delivering another, how much credibility should we give to this pathetic man's latest solemn promise to force PRs to become citizens 'or else'? Sceptics could be forgiven for seeing this as nothing but electoral smoke to sooth the troubled waters of true-blue Singaporeans stressed to breaking point, mired in enormous mortgage debt and watching their CPF savings receding ever further out of reach with every passing year. Soon as the election is safely over it'll be 6.5 million residents here we come and devil take the hindmost, guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

Usually, countries that are open to immigrants have a open migrant policies that allow dual nationalities. But Singapore is not. Do you think Singapore can entrap foreigners when it cannot even keep its citizens from leaving?

Lee reign is numbered. Now, he is fighting for how he wants to be remembered.

Read this

“SO, when is the last leaf falling?” asked Lee Kuan Yew, the man who made Singapore in his own stern and unsentimental image, nearing his 87th birthday and contemplating age, infirmity and loss.

“I can feel the gradual decline of energy and vitality,” said Mr. Lee, whose “Singapore model” of economic growth and tight social control made him one of the most influential political figures of Asia. “And I mean generally, every year, when you know you are not on the same level as last year. But that’s life.” …

I am getting very impatient, why is he still around to create more hardship for Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

In an interview, Fidel Castro, who used to be the fiercest critics of capitalism and democracy finally admitted that 'The Communist system of Cuba can neither work for us nor the rest of the world.' In addition he concedes that 'The 1962 Missile Stand-off was certainly not worth the pain, now that I look at it.'

Anonymous said...

Mr Nair, read this

Malaysians Caught in crossfire

If it’s not just a pre-election flash, coercing permanent residents to become citizens will likely reduce their presence. By Seah Chiang Nee
Sept 19, 2010

(Synopsis: Asked in a radio forum whether they would choose Singapore citizenship over PR, many Malaysians said ‘no’.)

Last December, I wrote in this column that rising anti-immigrants sentiments were stirring concern among Malaysians who have settled in Singapore for years.

They feared being caught in the crossfire between an angry public and a government bent on taking in a large number of foreigners for economic growth.

Now nine months later, this worry may soon take shape as the government ponders over possible measures to control the number of permanent residents (PRs).

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong gave an inkling of government intention recently when he said that, “Moving forward, we are going to approach some (PRs) to take up Singapore citizenship. If they don’t, then their PR (status) will not be renewed.”

“We now have quite a few PRs, 500,000 in Singapore, so hopefully maybe, 50,000 can be selected to become Singapore citizens, the rest can be PRs, contributing to Singapore’s economy,” he added.

Goh gave no details of the precise number or the selection criteria but it caused unease among PRs who had been living here for years without becoming Singaporeans.

One expat posted this alarming headline: “Singapore to expel 10 per cent of Perma­nent Residents”.

Many commentators in the ExpatSingapore website strongly criticised the idea of pressurised conversion, saying it would only drive people away.

A few foreigners were more circumspective of the city’s realities.

Earthfriendly explained them this way: “The government understands that Singapore needs foreign talent but the citizenry does not. It allows huge influx, while Singaporeans feel squeezed and treated like second class citizens by their own government.

“To pacify the general public, they are coming up with such drastic measures.”

The most worried PRs are Malaysians, who formed the largest group and had links dating back to 1965, longer than most others, most of whom came only in the past five years.

Estimated at several hundred thousand, many Malaysians have families and properties or businesses here.

They have permeated into almost every sphere of life in Singapore, having played a large role in the city’s development all these years.

Some 10,000 are believed to be holding top positions in government from ministers downwards and also in the private sector. An estimated 20% political grassroots are PRs.

In the face of strong expat reactions, the senior minister subsequently downplayed the severity of the move.

.... (more)

Anonymous said...

... (continued)

A statement by his press secretary explained that Goh was “making a general observation” and no one would be forced to take up citizenship here.

“The figure of 10 per cent which SM gave was only for illustrative purposes. It is not a target, nor is it the case that all PRs who turned down the offer of Singapore citizenship would not have their PR status renewed,” it said.

So how will it affect Malaysian and other PRs?

Observers believe that the authorities – in the face of an approaching general election – are serious about taking restrictive measures to placate widespread public unhappiness.

A government poll found that despite assurances, two out of three Singaporeans are concerned about impact of importing so many foreigners.

However, some analysts believe that any controls will aim at discouraging capable foreigners from coming, let alone expelling them.

The fundamental is that this low-birth society continues to need imported manpower.

The complaint is on excessive intake that threatens Singaporeans’ livelihood.

The vast majority of PRs will likely carry on unaffected, especially those who have families and business links.

The official Channel News Asia described it as a government initiative at assimilation.

Quoting observers, it said the likely targets may be those who had been here for three to five years and had enjoyed the benefits of their PR status.

Goh’s move could follow another: A readier revocation of permanent residency, which exists on paper but exercised only in cases of criminals and “undesirables.”

His move may be aimed at the PR status mistakenly given to dubious characters like prostitutes, massage girls and thugs.

Some easier targets may be the young well-paid professionals who had bought public housing who may find it harder to say no.

Losing PR status will not automatically mean loss of job here or expulsion. They could continue working with a professional visit pass or a work permit.

But the differences may be very stark. Being non-resident would mean losing the right to buy resale public flats and partial subsidies in health, education and other services that a PR and his family members are entitled to.

These are crucial factors living in the world’s 10th most expensive country. The benefit is their children need not serve national service.

A programme aired over the official Radio 958 recently attracted a large number of PR callers, especially Malaysians, criticising Goh’s suggestion.

Asked whether they would choose Singapore citizenship over PR, many Malaysians answered no, saying their families were in Malaysia.

One caller said he had come for the money and for the higher living standards, but he would eventually return home.

An agitated lady was worried about her assets here, while a Chinese PR complained he had been badly treated in Singapore.

An expatriate said few expatriates would make this small island, rich as it may be, their permanent home.

“Besides Singapore is not self-sufficient but depends on the world for everything. Come on, who will give up their citizenship!” he added.

On the other hand, a few well-educated Malaysians recently complained their citizenship applications have surprisingly been turned down.

All this shows public sentiments are asserting themselves in Singapore.