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Monday January 28th 2019

Citizen To Minister Tan Chuan Jin: “Address manpower discrimination issues.”

Dear Minister Tan Chuan Jin,

This email is to address my absolute concern and distress on the unequal and unlevel employment field within our own country for Singaporeans. Before I go on, I apologize if this concern should not have been raised to you but another ministry or someone else instead. I also apologize if along the way, I sound very strong in my wordings and tonations, or if I used the wrong wordings. I am not PR-trained, nor do I pretend to be one and try to be politically correct. I just try to call a spade a spade. And lastly, I am voicing my personal thoughts and opinions, which I suspect speaks for many Singaporeans if I should be so bold to claim.

I hope you do not have the notion that this is an old arguement and an over-played painful song only a “small section” of Singaporeans are harping and latching on for lack of better things to do in life. This is an enormous social affair, which is eating into increasing number of Singaporeans – our livelihoods, our futures, our families, our dependents, and the future of this very country. It’s a huge time-bomb ticking faster by the day. Unfortunately, it seems to me that our PAP government is nonchalant about it, judging from the lack of concrete steps and response it has shown.

Case in point: Syngenta

Why are companies like Syngenta allowed to hire Franziska Zimmermann and Elouisa Dalli for these 2 roles? Is their argument that they cannot find suitably qualified Singaporeans for these roles?

The fact that the hiring manager is himself a foreigner explains WHY this is the case – foreigners employ their own kind. And this IS the kind of things WE Singaporeans have been seeing & suffering for many years, and surprisingly, to the ‘ignorance’ of the PAP government until post-GE?

How is it that the incumbent government allows such thing to happen for eons without protecting and ensuring Singaporeans get ahead instead of giving on a platter to foreigners who have no loyalty to this island? What laws and specific criterias are there to ensure companies follow in their employment process, so that no foreigners can be considered until the company can justifiably prove that it has done everything but still cannot find a local candidate? Australia has it, EU has it, even HK has priorities for HK citizens and they have been flourishing. Why is Singapore lagging so far behind in terms of putting citizens first? This government is known for keeping statistics and numbers, so I’m confident that it has the clear figures of number of foreigners who have entered here to work on what level of jobs. Is the number too big to chew that nothing is done?

Please correct and enlighten me on this point Minister – if a citizen finds that he has little or no value in his own country; if he finds that he is discriminated by the very ‘guests’ that his country hosts; or worst, discriminated by the government giving preference to foreigners in (free)education, jobs, career path, treatment, and even worst, as it seems to appear when it comes to law enforcement, leniency towards foreigners for same transgressions; WHY and HOW can he/she still feel any value in this land? How then can the country progress and expect it’s citizens to populate when they see bleak future for themselves and families here?

This may be my myopic view from my angle, for indeed I have no privilege of holding high offices and seeing things from that height, nor any connections or relations to that extent, which makes everything so miniscule. But being on the ground makes all these very real, and the urgency of things cannot be denied anymore.

I understand the government has only recently implemented some sort of guidelines for companies. But WHO is the enforcement body of these guidelines? If no governent body takes ownership and responsibility on enforcing this, then there is hardly any change and no way for the aggrieved Singaporeans to see any justice nor equality served to him in his own country. Whatever the government has put in place will have no bite. It surprises me that although this practice, of companies employing foreigners when they can employ locals, and companies having more foreigners than locals for senior level positions, is so prevalent and evident, there has not been a single MNC or foreign company which had been penalised or warned in anyway, except for some local SMEs which I read in ST sometime back. And again, only the local SMEs are ‘featured’ as a showcase of the government’s effort to clamp down disciminatory employment. Where are the “Big Boys” who are the real culprits? The recent hotel job advertisement specifying ‘only native Chinese PRC’ can apply for a Singapore job is a good example. What was their penalty or punishment of any sort? Nothing official was spoken about it by the government except for the ‘unofficial’ FB posting that they have been warned/counseled. I might have missed something here, if not, it’s not even a slap on the wrist to begin with.

It never ceases to puzzle and exasperate me how and WHY this government has done next to nothing, or little, to correct this. Of course, I stand corrected.

I hold my view that when foreign companies invest in Singapore, they are not doing charity, they are doing business which they see value here in terms of ROI and ROE. Which leads to my next question – is the government afraid that by enforcing rules, regulations and laws FOR Singaporeans, it will ‘scare away’ these foreign money, hence the hesistance and relunctance in being forceful? I hold the view that when the government is strong is sending out it’s message – when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and obey our laws without complaining – it creates an all win situation. The genuine good investors/companies will remain for they have done their own maths; they will employ more Singaporeans, train more Singaporeans, which lowers their overall costs of importing foreigners; Singaporeans will find greater opportunities and value here as they climb up the value chain and career ladder; fewer Singaporeans will leave as we find more meaning & value here as they have more confidence in such a government – this is a natural progression; there will be less animosity against foreigners as only real talents are here; foreigners working here will also learn to behave and respect us and our laws instead of wanting their ways, i.e. misbehaving as guests. Sure, in the short term, there may be some who choose to part ways with Singapore but those, I believe, never meant to be here to contribute in any constructive way but to suck & leech. Better to axe them than to allow such disease to festor, isn’t it right?

Dear Minister Tan, if you have humored me by reading this lengthy email up to this point, I thank you for hearing me out. I am an ordinary Singaporean. I have always supported the government and felt proud of it for most of my life, until I start seeing ugly things unfolding before me in past 5 years. I am a PMET. I spoke with highly successful retired bankers who were dis-illussioned and decided to leave Singapore. It made me very sad and perplexed. It made me look hard, and the picture isn’t nice.

It’s good to hear that the government has reacted finally, and did something on public housing, primary education and hopefully more for Singaporeans. I hope you will help enlighten me on what the government is doing, has done, or intends to do better, in terms of Singaporeans First Employment.

It will be really nice to get a reply from you. Thank you.

Sincerely and Exasperated,

Number of View: 3350

Reader Feedback

8 Responses to “Citizen To Minister Tan Chuan Jin: “Address manpower discrimination issues.””

  1. Singaporean says:

    A well written article. Wonder if the MOM minister did came back with an answer?

  2. abc says:

    Sincere and heartfelt.

    Unfortunately likely it went into the Deleted folder and auto-deleted.

    No way PAP will bother unless they get <55% of voted at next GE. Then they will implement pro-Sinkie laws just to win back votes. At the end of the day, doesn't matter if high-level minister or toilet cleaner — all the same, will only make drastic change only if livelihood and money affected.

  3. Loyalty? says:

    It this army chief, generals or whatever titles given to them suddently became PAP followers to turn against Singaporeans. I will not fight arms in arms with them when crisis comes. Mark my word. As a Singaporeans I felt betrayed and conquered by PAP policies. I lost my loyalty to this country already.

  4. Disgrunted with no change at EP levels says:

    Many Singaporeans are highly aware of the very discriminatory practices going on especially at foreign companies. Until now, MOM has done nothing to control employment practices. Actually the minister in charge is Tharman and the buck should stop with him. But we will see whether Chuan Jin cares enough to do something for us.

    There are just so many examples we know of foreign companies including banks who recruit foreigners for jobs which can be done by locals (eg Stanchart). A lot of these jobs are not even high level or require particular experience. Sometime it is for lower pay. Other times, discrimination takes place because the recruiting person is also from the same foreign country and he or she recruits his own countrymen. I have seen Indian, Chinese, British and European businesses doing this.

    If MOM is not going to control the number of employment passes, MOM should devise laws and guidelines to ensure that employers have to try recruiting locally first. This is done in many countries and though they are subject to abuses, at least the governments in those countries at least even try to do something about it.

    Come on Tharman and Chuan Jin, please do something for our PMETs, for a change. If such practices continue unabated, do not be surprised that more and more Singaporeans will be disillusioned with the PAP.

    Listen and do something for us. It is not sufficient to just hear our views and still get on with what you want to do, against our wishes. That is NOT consultation.

  5. SAF says:

    I totally agree with an EP quote. It’s ridiculous that we don’t have one. And then they talk about some stupid dependancy ratio which does not even inlcude EP. I have highlighted this to MOM in the letter below.


    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I’m writing this letter in anguish at the mistreatment given to me by my ex-employer, ANZ Bank and the lack of any protection to a Singaporean employee. I’m a Singaporean and I was working in the trade operations of ANZ Bank. I was doing a good job there, but I was still terminated on false grounds. The management there is, like in many other banks, mostly foreigners. My manager was a Malaysian, and she has been firing Singaporeans and replacing them with foreigners, mostly Malaysians. While I have lost my job, but I think it is my duty as a Singaporean to highlight to you that as there are more and more foreigners in senior positions in companies, they are hiring their own kind and often replacing Singaporeans. And there is no control or check over them. I think the employment situation in Singapore is extremely pro-employer and anti-Singaporean. A company can have 100% of its employees as foreigners, as there is no quota on the number of EP holders working in a company. And now it is happening more and more as, like mentioned before, there are more foreigners in senior and hiring positions. Please think about introducing a quota on EP, just as on work permit. All developed countries protect their citizens in the job market to some extent, and Singapore must do this too. Otherwise is really detrimental to the long term progress of Singapore.

    Thanks and regards

  6. Anti Trash Anti PaP says:

    MARK THIS!!! The head, or one of the heads, of TAFEP – Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices – which PAP has been proudly trumpeting, is part of, or sits on the SNEF board. What does SNEF do – it’s an union for employers.

    SO do you think this TAFEP is REALLY out to help Singaporeans GET FAIR EMPLOYMENT? NO WAY!!!! There is an obvious conflict of interest here – WHY & HOW will this person help EMPLOYEES when he has interests and stakes with the EMPLOYERS? CHEW IT Singaporeans! This is PAP WAYANG and charade!!!

  7. jeff says:

    I am getting out of this country while i can…no words can describe the situation i see around me

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