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,