as a foreigner, this is scary …
I know my opinion won’t count, but nevertheless, I could not help noticing a few fallacies is Dr. Juan’s argument.
He is complaining that cost of living is very high, and yet wages are being suppressed by employing foreign workers – however, if (much) higher wages were to be paid for everything, wouldn’t the costs go up accordingly. If instead of bangladeshi workers working 5am-10pm for dirt cheap, Singaporean workers are employed in construction sites for 5-8 times those wages, won’t the already expensive HDB housings cost 3-4 times more than they currently do?
While articulated nicely, thus hiding these sort of fallacies, and sugar coating fear mongering, ultimately, I think (and yes, I may be wrong, after all I am a FT, I don’t understand the Singaporean view point that well), that the overall arguments are wrong, and touches on the fears of Singaporeans, but the proposed “solutions” will spell an almost immediate doom for Singaporean economy and its people.
Because of the political situation, PAP has however made it extremely difficult to hire people internationally (as much as the oppositions are unhappy with the foreigner influx, and as much as I understand and suffer the crowding as well). So much so, that I have started seriously wondering whether to move business out of Singapore, and relocate.
Anyway, I am afraid, going forward – it is a losing game for Singapore. There are serious physical/spatial constraints on how many people can live in this little dot. So number of foreigners need to be controlled. However, the level of control is already so high (and will get worse) for businesses, that it is a matter of time before shops start closing, if the policies continue in the same direction (even under PAP, and god forbid the oppositions’ policies).
I am not good with policies, so I cannot comment whether retraining the existing human resources will be adequate, or whether some other paths to keep the economy going while keeping the population in check can be found, but I sure hope against hope that that is somehow possible. But I definitely don’t see it in the oppositions’ discourse (as much as I agree with them, that an open political discourse is needed on these issues).
Ang Mo FT