dpennz wrote: Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 07:25:40 -0000 From: dpennz To: Mellanie Hewlitt Singapore Review Subject: Manpower and HousingMessage 1 of 1 , Dec 23 5:45 AMView Sourcedpennz <dpennz@...> wrote:
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 07:25:40 -0000
To: Mellanie Hewlitt
Subject: Manpower and Housing policies : Singaporean's triple whammys
Singapore is known to be among the most foreign labour friendly
country in the world. The "Foreign Talent" policy is still highly
controversial, with the review by 2 highly regarded Nayang
Technological University (NTU) Economics Professors, that the policy
created more work vacancies for foreigners than Singaporeans. The
study was derived from the Singapore Ministry of Manpower's (MOM)
database. The subsequent "rebuttal" by Minister for Manpower, Dr Ng
Eng Hen, gave another set of data, which was again controversial, as
it considered Permenant Residents (PRs) of the country as "citizens".
While the grammatic emphaisis puts the citizens down as "non-
talents" subtly, the Government is adament in pursuing the policy,
despite mixed findings, and subsequent poor economic performance,
which Singapore has hardly recovered from, since 1997, despite more
liberal import of "talents".
The Government's explaination of "strutural unemployment" is
baffling, when MOM and MOE set the quotas for various courses in the
Polytechnics and Universities. Meaning that manpower resources have
been "planned", if not for failure.
Singaporeans now have to compete with foreigners, on almost equal
footing, except that the SIngaporean male has to serve National
Service, and the subsequent 13 years of reservist duties. Singapore
is also noticaby more expensive compared to all neighbouring
countries. Hence while earning an almost equal nominal wage,
Singaporeans are earning a much lower real wage compared to
While Singapore is known and touted to have among the best
institutions of education (world class), Singaporeans have been told
that they are not as good as those trained overseas. An irony.
While the high profile failures in foreign CEOs in big Singapore
companies failed to make an impression in the policy, there have
also been many cases of foreigners using fake qualifications and
multiple identities to obtain work in Singapore.
The Government Linked and Temasek group of companies' policy
of "localisation" also effectively puts the work opportunities
created overseas by Singaporeans' CPF and taxes into the hands of
foreigners. Temasek being not required to file reports, makes it
impossible to gauge how any benefits or profits from these ventures,
which do not provide employment for Singaporeans, broad-based, is
being distributed to the citizens.
The most recent case of "localised" DBS-Dao Heng (Hong Kong), where
the Hong Konger CEO scrapped safe boxes with valuables in them, have
put Singapore in bad light, despite having no Singapore hand in the
The state "subsidised housing" arm, the HDB has just been hived off
to Temasek Holdings, for an undisclosed sum. "Sunsidised" HDB units
which cost S$50,000 per unit to construct, are being sold at
S$190,000 and above to citizens. This effectively saps savings and
retirement funds. Singaporeans who find work overseas and wish to
let out their units whole, do not get the lease period counted into
the occupancy years (a minimum of 5 years occupancy is required to
sell your HDB flat). The "asset enhancement" policy by then Prime
Minister Goh, which subsequently translated into infallable and
overinflated land price in Singapore was designed to and has
effectively kept Singaporeans slogging in Singapore.
The combined policies of localisation, and "asset enhancement" have
effectively kept Singaporeans in Singapore, but making it difficult
for them to find work at home, through easy (and encouraged)
employment of foreigners, through the "foreign talent" policy, to be
enhanced by the "S" pass route, which allows foreigners with non-
specialised skills to work in Singapore.