Dear Editors,

I think the number ONE issue for this election is the LIBERAL immigration policy that the PAP has adopted!! Yes, effectively the PAP government has been “pimping” Singapore out to all businesses!!

The PAP keeps claiming that they are capping the number of foreigners working here. Yet, from the data collected between 2012 and 2014, it seems to point that percentage of locals in the workforce has been steadily declining. It was 63% in mid-2012, 62.1% in mid-2013 and 61.9% in mid-2014. This is very different from PAP’s claim that extensive measures have been put in place to reduce the number of foreigners coming in. How is this possible?

1. In the calculation of the foreign workers quota, PAP allows Singapore PR to be added. So effectively, they can allow more foreigners to come in, simply by converting more foreigners into Singapore PR.

2. There continues to be a large number of “phantom” workers in various industries. Not only do these phantom workers allow foreigners to be employed, they also represent an expense of which lower taxes will then be paid!! That means the rich become richer, simply by paying less taxes than they actually should!! More importantly, “phantom” workers are continuously REUSED as their names can appear on the payroll of SEVERAL companies at any one time.

So, what are the ways we can really solve the problem of huge influx of foreign workers?

1. Singapore PR MUST NOT be used in the calculation of foreign workers’ quota. This will ensure that ONLY Singaporeans born and bred here are the ones that are really supporting the headcount of foreign workers.

2. Heavier punishment for those employers who hire “phantom workers”. Each “phantom” worker will cost the employer a fine of $12,000. Any employer that hires more than 20 “phantom” workers will have a mandatory jail term of no more than six months.The practice of hiring “phantom” workers has to be CONDEMNED because it distorts data and paints an unrealistic picture of the employment situation in our country.

3. Both CPF and MOM will no longer recognize multiple contributions for “phantom” workers in order to support the hire of foreigners. That means, your name can appear in 5 or 6 companies, but you MUST pick ONE to indicate the one in which the foreigner will be hired. IN ADDITION, those individuals that earned income from several companies will have to pay 25% more taxes. Because of this higher tax amount, people will be more reluctant to become “phantom” workers for their uncles or friends.

4. Set up an agency to allow whistle-blowers to report on errant employers. The reward for these whistle-blowers will be 25% of the fine meted out to the employers. I anticipate a lot of whistle-blowers coming forward as the reward is quite significant. If the company has 10 “phantom” workers, you will be rewarded $30k!! In view of the above measures, employers should be granted an “amnesty” period of six months for them to come clean.

5. MOM and ICA to provide daily updates on things like permits/passes issued on that day, cancelled on that day and total number of foreigners currently working on their respective websites. Everything is already automated in MOM and ICA, so these figures will be collected with ease. The government has to make it more transparent to all Singaporeans on how many foreigners are here at any one time.

6. ALL companies big or small MUST use a fully-automated payroll system. This means attendance will be tracked so all “phantom” workers will have to turn up for work. This system will also be useful in preventing errant employers from not paying for OVERTIME work. YES, a lot of employers are not paying for OT. Their message is simple, you want to claim OT, I will fire you and get cheaper foreigners to replace you!!

Just by implementing the first measure alone, foreign labour will dramatically be reduced by more than 10%!! With companies chasing more locals, this initiative will drive wages up by more than 10%!! If all these SIX measures are put into place, the balance between hiring locals and foreigners will finally be restored!!

Prof MC
A.S.S. Contributor

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