According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who spoke at the National Day Rally today, the government has heard Singaporeans’ views on foreigners and immigration and has adjusted its policies – but he cautioned that every option they take has a downside and will come with some pain.
Citing the policy changes that the government has made, Mr Lee says that the government has upgraded infrastructure, slowed down the inflow of foreign workers, tightened up on the approval of permanent residency and citizenship applications, and made sure that Singaporeans are fairly treated at work.
However, closing the doors to foreign workers would tank the economy. Companies would not have enough workers and some would close, which would mean jobs lost for Singaporeans. A reduction in foreign workers needed to build homes would also be unwise.
But letting in too many foreign workers would lead to Singaporeans being crowded out, as workplaces become foreign and our Singapore identity becomes diluted.
“Yet, I believe that I am doing what Singapore needs and what best safeguards your interest. If I did not believe that, I would not be doing it. It is my responsibility to make this judgment and act on your behalf. And having acted, I owe it to you to account to you for my decisions, for doing what I did.”