“Fire Locals, Hire Foreigners” Policy Lands Singapore Firm in Trouble

Collusion Among Employers Common

Finally, the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) has acted against a local company for discriminating against Singaporeans in employment. The marine company, Prime Gold International, is reported to have fired Singaporeans and hired foreigners in their place.

Kudos to MoM!

I am surprised, though, that MoM took more than five months to act after the affected employees brought their sacking to its attention.

Protection for Whistleblowers: Not sure if they had found alternative employment in the interim. Given that employers collude with one another, which is common even among competing companies, what protection do whistleblowers have? LinkedIn is one of the platforms enabling an easy collusion to make it difficult for staff to switch jobs.

This is one area where competitors are friends. Enemies are happy to sleep with each other to hound staff. Just a quick check of the profiles of business leaders will show how deep this conspiracy is – all in the name of social networking!.

Prime Gold (I had not heard of them until this morning’s newspapers reported that it has been barred from hiring foreigners for two years) is the only company in the country to have faced such action from the Government.

Lenient Action?: Also, is the action good enough? They have stocked the company with foreigners any way, so a two-year penalty does not sound like a reasonable punishment with the potential to be an effective deterrent.

Will Singapore go soft on drug peddlers? Stringent penalties are in place, including the death penalty, for that because Singapore does not wish to see offenders harm society.

Jobs are the lifeblood of locals, so why be lenient on those who tamper with it?

Established players, including foreign MNCs, are perhaps more cunning and clever in flouting local rules.The Government is perhaps careful in dealing with the aberrations, if any, of the biggies so as not to send a negative image to the market.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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