S'pore Foreign Workers Debated / Rape, murder rise in safe S'pore
Report: Singapore Foreign Workers Debated
07.27.2004, 10:58 PM
The head of Singapore's labor movement is warning that the city-state
faces a rise in structural unemployment and might need to reduce its
reliance on foreign labor to open up jobs for locals, news reports
Lim Boon Heng, the secretary-general of the National Trades Union
Congress and a Cabinet minister, said "we have structural
unemployment, an issue...we did not have in the past," the Straits
Times newspaper reported.
Structural unemployment refers to those who can't find work because
they don't have the skills for the jobs that are available. It
affects most modern economies to some extent.
"I think we have to look at the issue (of foreign workers)
differently, and say that 'Are there some jobs in Singapore that we
can... leave for Singaporeans to do?'," the paper quoted Lim as
Wealthy, high-tech Singapore has long been accustomed to negligible
unemployment, but in recent years it has ticked higher and is now 4.5
The long-term jobless rate - those without work for at least 25
weeks - is 1.5 percent. The indicator is a useful proxy for
structural unemployment and has climbed fivefold from 0.3 percent a
Older, less-educated Singaporeans are finding it tougher to hold down
jobs as lower-skilled positions are transferred to lower-cost
At the same time, Singapore typically hosts thousands of foreign
workers, most of whom tackle the dirtier, low-paid positions such as
cleaning, construction and gardening that citizens tend to shun.
Lim said more should be done to place locals "who are not suited to
higher-skilled jobs" into work they can handle, the report said.
Rules govern how many Singaporeans companies must hire before they
can tap foreign workers. These rules may need to be adjusted Lim
said, according to the report.
Rape, murder rise in safe Singapore
Posted online: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 at 1422 hours IST
Singapore, July 27: Singapore's reputation as one of the world's safest cities took a hit from January to June when more people were raped or murdered compared to the same period last year, police data showed on Tuesday.
Cases of rape in the wealthy island-state of four million people rose 18.6 per cent to 70. Victims were known to the rapists in 90 per cent of the cases, police said.
There were 10 cases that involved culprits who were family or friends of the victims, compared to three in the same period of last year. The culprits included fathers, step-fathers and brothers, said police spokeswoman Rachel Yeo.
Murder is also up, though cases remain rare. Twelve people were murdered in Singapore in the first half of 2004, up by one from the same period last year, the police said.
But total crime as measured by sizable offences" - which include robbery along with murder and rape - fell to 16,545 cases, one less than the same period in 2003.
Laws in tightly controlled Singapore allow for suspects to be arrested without a warrant for offences such as robbery, rape and murder. A survey by Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, a think-tank, rated Singapore last year as the world's top city for personal safety and security, said Singapore's Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng in a speech this week.