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Shanmugam defends foreign workers: They are doing jobs Singaporeans “shun”

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Old 20-01-2010, 12:22 AM   #1
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Shanmugam defends foreign workers: They are doing jobs Singaporeans “shun”

http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/01...aporeans-shun/



Shanmugam defends foreign workers: They are doing jobs Singaporeans “shun”

January 18, 2010 by admin

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Written by Our Correspondent

For some strange reason, it was not the Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong, but Law Minister K Shanmugam who has been defending the ruling party’s pro-foreigner policy lately, a testimony of Singapore’s “multi-talented” ministers who command the highest salaries in the world.


During a dialogue session with Yew Tee residents yesterday, Mr Shanmugam jumped to the defence of foreigners and blamed locals for being “choosy” about jobs instead.


“Contrary to popular belief, foreigners who take up low-paying jobs here are not depriving Singaporeans of work. Rather, they are doing jobs Singaporeans shun,” he said, echoing a view espoused previously by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who claimed that foreigners are needed to “build HDB flats and MRT lines”.


A resident had complained that “foreigners were crowding Singaporeans out of jobs, depriving them from even becoming cleaners.”


Mr Shanmugam disputed the statement:


“The ‘actual practical reality’ was that employers often turned to foreigners only as a last resort when they cannot find local staff.

More often than not, employers were even willing to pay Singaporeans more…..If the foreign worker gets $800, we’ll try to get the Singaporean $1,300. But you have to work on weekends. The Singaporean says ‘no’.”


His stance was repeated by several PAP leaders in the past who refused to acknowledge the problem which is largely caused by their flawed immigration and labor policies.


During a May Day Rally in 2009, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed that foreign workers were of “value” to Singapore:


‘They are not here to steal our jobs, but to help us enlarge the economic pie….Foreign workers were of value to Singapore.

Because they are hard-working and willing to work long hours, coffeeshops can stay open late or even round the clock.

The airport, seaport, factories, offices, hotels, restaurants and retail outlets here can offer better service and business hours.

Even smaller businesses, such as neighbourhood shops, can reduce business costs and stay afloat if they hire some foreign workers on top of locals,” he said.


NTUC Secretary-General and Minister in Prime Minister’s Office Lim Swee Say added:


“‘Let us be very clear. Foreign workers…are our partners because they are here working together with us…that makes us the number one workforce in the world.’”
[Source: Straits Times, 2 May 2009]


Mr Lim’s shameless boast about Singapore being the “number one” workforce in the world is quite “divorced from reality” as a recent article by Wall Street Journal revealed that the relentless influx of foreigners into Singapore over the last few years has decreased the wages of Singaporeans, lowered labor productivity, increased the cost of living and led directly to a lower standard of living.


While in the past, only very highly qualified foreigners or those doing menial jobs like construction were permitted to work in Singapore, there are increasingly number of semi-skilled foreigners who are competing directly with locals for jobs which can otherwise be taken up by them.


Mr Shanmugam added that “foreigners were not to be blamed for retrenched workers being unable to get re-employed at their old pay.” due to “companies still being uncertain about the economy and workers who may not have the right skills.”


‘So, our problem are people above 40. So NTUC sends them for job schemes where they get them trained, but individuals also have to reduce expectations,’ he said.


Ultimately, the problem still lies with Singaporeans – we are too choosy about jobs and we have too high expectations, and not the PAP which opens the floodgates to let in too many foreigners in too short a period of time.


One thing Singaporeans can be very “clear” about judging from recent statements made by PAP leaders is that they and the foreigners are “partners” in Singapore and we are no more than “sheep” driven around by them, to borrow the words of the second most senior “lion” in the cabinet Goh Chok Tong.



http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/01...aporeans-shun/
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Old 20-01-2010, 12:34 AM   #2
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http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/01...ving-up-costs/



A rebuttal to Shanmugam’s statement that it is wrong to blame foreigners for driving up costs

January 19, 2010 by admin

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Dear Mr Shanmugam,


I refer to your comments as reported by Straits Times on 18 Jan 2010.

You said that it is a misconception that there are five million people putting pressure on all of us because the 1.3 million here on temporary work permits impose no burden on the public housing system.

That unfortunately, is the real misconception.


Even as workers on temporary permits aren’t allowed to buy flats, they are allowed to rent flats or rooms.


The flats that they rent becomes unavailable for sale to the people and thus puts presure on the availability of units. Also, land that could otherwise have housed Singaporeans are being used to house workers like those in Serangoon Gardens.



On what basis do you brush aside the 500,000 PRs as being too small a number to impact prices?


You said the number of BTO flats to be launched this year is 12,000.


If every one of these 500,000 PRs were to buy a flat each, it would take 40 years to build all the flats to accomodate these PRs.


While Singaporeans may be the ones who are forking out top dollar for certain flats, are there cheaper alternatives for the same locations?


And for flats that are much more far flung, are they really that much cheaper?

Instead of imposing limits on resale flat prices, the Government can impose limits on the price of new flats sold by the HDB.


In a climate of spiralling prices, the Government should not join in the fray but should hold flat prices steady instead.

That way, the government does not end up making one person happy at the expense of another. It only makes itself less happy. Is the government willing to do that?


The concessionary loans and grants of $40,000 pale in comparison to the $100,000 to $200,000 increase in flat prices over the last three years.

While 8 in 10 Singaporeans pay for their flats entirely through their CPFs, they will have to keep paying for the next 30 years and would have nothing left in their CPF for retirement. You call that affordable?



Politics is, first and foremost, about satisfying the needs of the people.


All popular revolutions and uprisings stem from inadequate provisions from the government.


The art of communication cannot change the feelings of hardship that the people has to endure.


Thank you


Ng Kok Lim








http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/01...ving-up-costs/
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Old 20-01-2010, 08:44 AM   #3
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“The ‘actual practical reality’ was that employers often turned to foreigners only as a last resort when they cannot find local staff.
That is not true. Employers' first choice in those sectors (construction, manufacturing, maintenance and so on), the first choice is foreigners. Heck, nowadays even other service sectors, they look for foreigners first. The only thing stopping them is the quota system. And nowadays, it is pretty easy to get foreigners, much easier than finding Singaporean workers.

More often than not, employers were even willing to pay Singaporeans more…..If the foreign worker gets $800, we’ll try to get the Singaporean $1,300. But you have to work on weekends. The Singaporean says ‘no’.”
First of all, I am confused about the word "we" in his statement. Is the minister involved in the detailed hiring practices of employers?

And no, they usually don't pay Singaporeans $500 more for the same job. Not from my experience anyway. I have seen Singaporeans paid only slightly higher amount in the manufacturing sector. The main purpose of hiring foreigners is to save money (remember there is a foreign worker levy). And yes, I work weekends and late at night as well. I guess this is the usual blame the Singaporean as lazy excuse we hear everyday from the govt. In my opinion, it is kind of ironic, considering that our ministers are paid millions of dollars while other countries are paid way less than them and they still have the cheek to complain about the working class Singaporeans.
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Old 20-01-2010, 09:19 AM   #4
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There are increasing number of FT working in job agencies now and well paid jobs are being prioritzed by them. The good and well paid jobs were intro to their own country men while the not so good ones they'll intro to locals. This is what been happening too frequent now.
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Old 20-01-2010, 09:20 AM   #5
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why need to defend if what he said is right ?
if what government did is right, the singaporean will support them
but why i see singaporeans complaining ?

either
1) we do not understand the 'higher' ways of what the government is doing OR
2) we are sick and tired of the government's hypocrisy

choose 1

but obviously we understand the 'higher' ways of what they are doing - they wanted a fast and good economy, to earn more for themselves so they bring in more foreigners on the expense of singaporeans' home

so we are only left with 1 option now

Last edited by upslorry; 20-01-2010 at 10:24 AM..
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Old 20-01-2010, 09:38 AM   #6
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The issue is not with the FWs, they do indeed take up jobs which many Sinkies shun like cleaners, construction jobs, etc

It is with the so called FTs who take up jobs for which locals can easily be found, from the basic admin jobs to the more specialized engineering posts

And I don't understand this statement: ..."If the foreign worker gets $800, we’ll try to get the Singaporean $1,300"

What does he mean by "we? Who is "we"? The only people I see trying to fight for my salary is I, me and myself.

As for the 5 day work week, well, guess who took the lead in implementing 5 day work week in the 1st place?
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Old 20-01-2010, 10:33 AM   #7
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If the coffeshop owner can get a foreigner for $800, why would he want to get a Singaporean for $1300?
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Old 20-01-2010, 10:36 AM   #8
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“Contrary to popular belief, foreigners who take up low-paying jobs here are not depriving Singaporeans of work. Rather, they are doing jobs Singaporeans shun,” he said, echoing a view espoused previously by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who claimed that foreigners are needed to “build HDB flats and MRT lines”.
I agreed, it is the Middle Income Foreigners (S-PASS) who compete with most Singaporeans for jobs.
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Old 20-01-2010, 10:56 AM   #9
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Shanmugam is an idiot, anybody who believes what this idiot says is an even bigger idiot.
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Old 20-01-2010, 11:40 AM   #10
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Of course it's easier for Shanmugam to defend people rather than an unpopular policy
Shanmugam is trying to make it a local vs foreigner issue and he become the mediator/referee
BUT what Singaporeans are actually unhappy about is the FT policy that lets in low skilled foreigners that fight for resources like housing and jobs meant for middle to low income Singaporeans.
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Old 20-01-2010, 03:18 PM   #11
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http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/01...k-as-cleaners/


Being cleaners is what Singaporeans are trained and educated for.

This is the Singaporean dream.

Swiss standard of Living and Golden Period anyone ??

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/01...k-as-cleaners/

Shanmugam: Many Singaporeans choose not to work as cleaners

January 17, 2010 by admin
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Written by Our Correspondent


In a sign that the ruling party is quite “dissociated” from the reality on the ground, another PAP leader has stepped forward to defend its pro-foreigner policy which has allowed large numbers of cheap foreign workers to flood the nation and compete directly with locals for jobs.


During a walk-about session at Hong Kah GRC, Law Minister Shanmugam told the media that many companies are recruiting Singaporeans as cleaners, but there are few takers for the job as Singaporeans, especially the young, do not like long working hours or shift work.


“Most Singaporeans prefer office job and choose to give up jobs such as cleaners,” he added.


Mr Shanmumgan claimed that many companies have no choice but to apply to the relevant departments to employ foreigners after some time as they are unable to recruit any locals.


In response to a netizen who posted a comment on Facebook that Singaporean males are encountering difficulties during job interviews due to their reservist obligations, Mr Shanmugam said that according to studies done by NUS, NTU and SMU, their graduates have no problems finding a job.


As a result of the ruling party’s liberal immigration policy, foreigners now make up 36 per cent of Singapore’s population, up from 14 per cent in 1990.


According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the relentless influx of foreigners not only depress the wages of Singapore workers, but lead to an overall decrease in labor productivity and quality of life.


In a recent report by Ireland-based journal “International Living”, Singapore is ranked the 70th most livable country in the world way below developing countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.


Despite the rising resentment and anger on the ground, the PAP ministers continue to insist that foreigners help to “create” jobs for Singaporeans and blame them for being “fussy” about the jobs “available” in the market.


A quick glance at job ads put on online portals revealed that some jobs are reserved only for PRs and foreigners and not Singaporeans though the companies are based in Singapore.


A MNC put up a job ad looking specifically for Malaysians to fill two positions of laboratory technicians. (read article here)


Such news are never reported by the state media whose journalists will not dare to ask the ministers either who continue to ignore the festering problem on the ground.


Actually, there are already many Singaporean elderly who are working as cleaners as they have no choice but to continue working well beyond their retirement age to support themselves.


As for young Singaporeans, they may not take up the job because the pay is too low for them to support themselves or their families.


Mr Shanmugam should first disclose the wages paid by these so-called cleaning companies before pinning the blame on Singaporeans for not wanting the jobs.


News source: Lianhe Wanbao


http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/01...k-as-cleaners/
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