In its clamour to cram Singapore with people, the government is treading dangerous territory, even playing with fire.
For one, it is sowing the seeds of racial discord that can in the long run leave Singapore in permanent ferment. This will negate all efforts made in the past to promote and realize racial integration.
Resentment against foreigners is an inevitable corollary of the overpopulation issue Singapore is grappling with – an offshoot of the Government’s intent to fill the country to the brim with people from overseas.
The mass of people it has been bringing in may help prop up its economy but will end up destroying Singapore by denying its people a good quality of life they were once used to.
Multi-Hued Discrimination: Singapore ministers have also been talking of immigration curbs, though minimal, giving Singaporeans a level-playing field on the employment front.
First, Singaporeans deserve more than a level-playing field as this is after all their country. Ministerial statements on the curbs are perhaps an unwitting, indirect admission that so far the Government has been giving jobs for foreigners greater priority than for locals.
Singaporeans have the right to enjoy a distinct edge over foreigners on jobs, training and education, not just a level-playing field!
Second, Singapore has also been regularly talking of the ageing workforce that will need to be replaced with imported talent. So is Singapore encouraging discrimination based on age?
Singapore has to stop thinking of development only through population growth. It is strange for tech-savvy Singapore to be talking of traditional ways to boost the economy. Businesses that are shy to tap technology to do more are just not being creative enough!
Singapore must also not forget that it does not enjoy the luxury of space that countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia are blessed with. Singapore may become unlivable if efforts are not made to trim, not grow, its population. Already Singapore has become like a third world country with its failing infrastructure and a lack of inclination among public entities to upgrade it with a sense of urgency.
Economic growth with a substandard quality of life is not a happy compromise. Rather, it is a sign of poor governance.
G Joslin Vethakumar