I seldom felt so enraged when I received emails from our readers until I received one from Francis the other day.
Francis wrote how he was ousted from his company – a global Fortune 500 conglomerate, by a foreigner Indian IT director from India. He is now happily resettled in Melbourne – one of the tens of thousands of Singaporeans forced by the recent economical circumstances to relocate elsewhere in search of greener pasture.
What irked me was how easily the Indian IT director could replace our own local executives, without any repercussion, with his own people from India. Somthing is wrong with our human resource policy here and so far the ministry of manpower has kept quiet about this hiring discrimination.
Countries in Asia, Africa and South America have practised ethnic cleansing all along to drive out enemy tribes who are considered unfriendly to their cause but our country has effectively carried out economic cleansing – one that replaces local workers with foreign ones.
The more sinister ethnic cleansing is defined by the United Nations as the elimination of an unwanted group from a society, by genocide or forced emigration.
Throughout history, majority ethnic groups purged minorities groups out of their countries for territorial or political gains.
These examples include the purge of Armenians by the Turks beginning in 1915, Jews killed in the Ukraine in the late 1910′s as well as during the Nazi regime, Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970′s, Bosnian Muslims in the former Yugoslavia early this decade, and the slaughter of the Tutsi minority by the Hutu majority in Rwanda in 1994 (source: United Nations, 50th Agenda).
Economic cleansing being practised here?
Though we may not have entered into such grotesque activity yet, the signs are there and its pretty ominous.
Nevertheless, we may have enter into a dark period of economic cleansing – foreigners arriving on our shore invited with open arms by a regime to take over our jobs and hiding a sinister agenda for political gain.
The agenda though subtle is equally damaging as economic cleansing has driven many of our citizens into deep depression and some have even attempted suicide. Those who can emigrate will do so – leaving the country to well-to-do foreigners with good paying jobs to gain control.
One in three workers in Singapore is a foreigner now and at least 1.5 million foreigners, carrying all kinds of work permits, have settled down on our tiny island state – artificially inflating our population to a miserable 5.1 million and stretching infrastructure and employment opportunities to the max.
Amidst this economic sizzle which is supposed to benefit its own people, entire companies have been replaced by foreigners and one only needs to walk along busy financial centre at Marina to witness the ugly manifestation.
Singaporean executives ironically remain a rare representation in our best economic model thus far – the financial sector.
Deustche Bank, Barclays, Credit Sussie, Hong Kong Shanghai Bank – all banking giants out to clamour for a lucrative piece of the Asian economic miracle here could only mysteriously employ a majority of foreign executives on its payroll. We don’t have enough talents – so say the employers and agreed by our government.
Let the foreign talents come in – not by the tens of thousands but hundreds of thousands as our own local workers sit by the wayside and envy at smartly-dressed foreign executives file pass on their way to work in gleaming glass-towered buidlings! Never before any country in the work has work discrimination being so obviously and maliciously played out - against its own people mind you.
For the first time in history, more foreign doctors (60%) last year registered with our Singapore Medical Council (SMC) than local ones – a reflection of economic cleansing that will continue unabated in the near future.
The government has also shamelessly used tax-payer money to lure foreigners via a comprehensive website meant to simplify procedures for immigrants coming into our country.
Government-linked companies, multi national companies and even small and medium enterprises splashed out full page advertisement abroad in search of foreign workers to fortify their economic prowess as companies continue to shun local workers labelling them lazy, choosy and hard to please.
The government has always asked its own people to welcome foreigners into our midst as if not – jobs will evaporate, investors will run away and the economy will collapse.
However, it could not properly explain why capable well-educated citizens continue to stay jobless or enter into under employment by driving cabs and taking on low level jobs in order to survive.
If this happens in any country in the world, citizens will gather together and speak out against such employment discrimination but in a law-abiding country like Singapore - whereby even a lone demonstrator can be arrested, we are being denied such basic human rights and can only count emigration as a way out of our misery.
Foreigners replacing local citizens for political reason?
The plot to allow foreigners to invade our economy has caused many well educated executives to emigrate for greener pastures causing a minor brain drain in the process.
More significantly, the government has successfully got rid of frustrating citizens who will most likely vote for the opposition – further eroding the reduced power base of the ruling party.
The limit on tertiary admission to eligible Singaporeans is also one sure way to force Singaporeans to study abroad as less than 23% of our primary school cohort enters local varsity programmes. Many who left the country to study seldom return and most educated voters here tend to cast their vote for the opposition as they are found to be more likely to clamour for change within the system.
Foreigners, on the contrary, are given all kinds of scholarships and grants to study in our polytechnics and universities – with the hope that they will convert to citizenship for votes.
Moreover, citizens who stay abroad most likely will not register to vote as the voting stations are often far away and inconvenient – this was found out during the first-ever occasion that overseas Singaporeans could cast their votes in the recent GE.
For example, less than 3400 eligible overseas voters registered and casted their votes during the recent GE – out of 180, 000 Singaporeans who have stayed abroad! That is just a mere 2 percent of all Singaporeans who stayed abroad.
This is a shocking statistics which could only pleased the government as most citizens who have ventured abroad are mostly unhappy with the ruling party and would have voted against the current regime if they have a chance to vote.
More can be done by the opposition parties to try and persuade our overseas Singaporean voters to cast their votes in the next GE. Opposition party candidates could also gather overseas Singaporeans and organise political forums for them in future.
It is estimated that every year, 5, 000 Singaporeans venture abroad both for work and study purposes. Many will not return and their votes will be a double loss to the opposition parties especially if our government replaces them with foreign citizens.
Moreover, the state-controlled newspaper continued to broadcast feel-good propanganda about the economy reporting almost 78% of the resident population is employed now when the ground feels entirely different. Resident population includes our permanent residents and it is safe to say that 100% of our PRs are working now or else they will not be given PR status in the first place.
From trying to blame the problem of our local citizens not giving birth sufficiently to replace itself to employers crying out loud that there are no takers for the many tens of thousands’ of jobs that went abegging, Singapore felt the onslaught of foreigners by the hundreds of thousands during the past five years.
In the name of globalisation, our government has kept quiet as foreigners continue to flock to our island state in search of jobs and opportunities – leaving many native citizens high and dry.
The recent demise of the hugly popular socio-political Temasek Review – thought to have influenced voters to cast their votes against PAP-backed Mr Tony Tan and continual persecution of political dissidents in the past were sure enough evidences proving that the ruling party will resort to extreme measures to stay in power.
Free trade agreement harms us
Signed agreement via the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has also allowed countries such as India and China to gain strong foothold in our economy – robbing us of valuable jobs in exchange for an economy that thrives on free trade and mobility.
Many analysts have agreed that FTAs mainly benefit third world countries more as they are developing and Singaporeans all along have difficulty trying to penetrate into other countries’ economics due to our risk-adverse business nature.
A friend told me that on a monthly basis, hundreds of foreign businesses are trying to set up shop here – lured mainly by our friendly business environment and solid first class infrastructure.
Many bought properties and apply for permanent residence with their business enterprises.
Singapore also became one of the top emigration country for many rich families in China and India – this probably explains why we are the country with the most millionaires among us.
This phenomenon has also widened the income gap further deepening the polarisation rife among the population.
We also knew how our expats could earn the best wages in the world compared to our local citizens who only manage an income growth of around 1.1% for the past decade.
While foreigners continue to purchase multi million luxurious water front apartments and sip long island tea at some all-foreigner pubs, Singaporeans could only manage with a small HDB 3-room flat and having $1 kopi at a stuffy filthy coffee shop.
The comparison is garingly wide and can be disappointingly frustrating.
Yet the most pressing bizarre question remains in most citizens’ mind – why does the government allows in so many foreigners and more seriously - systematically permitting them to replace local workers at the work place without even blinking an eye?
Are they oblivious to what is happening on the ground?
Are they also doing it intentionally for a political reason?
In countries like Australia, Canada and New Zealand – traditionally places whereby there is strong emigration to fuel economic and population growth, systems are in place to provide basic check so that the locals are not compromised on equal employment opportunities.
In Singapore, the employment system is so fluid that an entire company can be easily replaced by foreigners if the company can hire them using the EP work permit passes – there is no quota for EP passes unlike the S-Pass and the company can staff its’ operations with 100% foreigners.
An EP pass is given out to any foreign talent who qualifies and if the company is willing to pay the minimum salary of $2,800. Most EP work permit holders can apply for permanent resident status after two years and then for citizenship soon after. It is estimated that more than 300, 000 of our foreigners are holding EP work permit passes and they remain the top cream for citizenship conversion. They are also allow to bring in spouses, children and their own parents once they have the EP pass approved.
Vote buying through foreign-born citizens
The recent general election (GE) 2011 has proved that having foreign-breed citizens was a huge boost to the ruling party’s votes.
Some political analysts have speculated that if not for the newly-minted citizens’ votes, PAP might have lost more seats besides the ones at Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC.
More than 130, 000 new citizens were registered to the electorate during the recent GE – a sudden increase of 5% to the total eligible voters of roughly 2.2 million. Most of them were recruited two years prior to the recent GE – a clear sign that they were purposely selected for their ability to vote.
As seen from the chart above, from 2006 to 2009, there was a 13.3% growth in population from 4.4m to 4.9m – an increase of 586, 000 in four short years – roughly averaging about 100, 000 new residents per year.
They may be brought in to prepare them to become naturalised citizens so that they could vote for the 2011 GE.
On the average, 20, 000 of these residents will become citizens each year negating the influence of younger voters that will come on board annually by at least 25, 000. Younger voters are envisaged to cast their votes for the opposition as they are frustrated with a lack of political change within the archaic governing system.
It is predicted that the PAP will have to continue to convert at least 20, 000 new citizens each year till GE 2016 if they want to remain in power with their 60% majority percentage. It is thus not far-fetched to foresee that by GE 2016, at least 300, 000 foreign citizens will be voting alongside native citizens – representing almost 15% of the total voting electorate.
Most of the newly converted citizens will also likely vote for the ruling party – more out of loyalty than anything else.
Moreover, no foreigner-turned-citizen will, in their right frame of mind, vote for the opposition as they fear perceived repercussion more than any one else – being new kids on the block.
While helping out Steve Chia’s campaign at Pioneer SMC during the recent GE, I was shocked to detect the huge number of foreigners residing there – probably because of the lower priced properties located in the far west.
I could count at last one out of five properties belonging to a foreigner there.
Of course, they could be PRs residing in the area and could not vote but the high concentration of foreigners residing in that area is disturbing.
I have confided in Steve that it is difficult for him to win in Pioneer SMC – not because he is not a good politician but that the foreign-breed citizens is his main stumbling block.
The same thing happened to Choa Chu Kang GRC whereby the scholar team from NSP stood for election.
Both teams in Pioneer SMC and Choa Choa Kang GRC lost and could only garner less than 40% of the majority votes.
Opposition camps have fortunately gained good ground in the eastern part of Singapore whereby foreign citizens have a poorer showing because of the pricier cost of the properties out there. Most of the opposition parties managed to garner close to 43% of the total votes casted.
Probably only one in ten households residing in Tampines belongs to a foreigner family.
East Coast, Moulmein-Kallang, Tampines and Marine Parade GRC all managed to garner close to 45% of majority votes on average making them the hottest GRCs to contest in GE 2016.
Opposition parties should in fact forsake the western part and focus all their resources on the eastern front during the next GE in 2016 as these seats look close to being captured by the opposition camp.
If the government wants to reclaim back these eastern seats, they have to do something fast and desperate.
Depending on policy changes may not work as how can you do something serious when you keep putting old wine on new wineskin?
Planting foreign citizens may be the only answer and if they could earn good wages, they too could afford to purchase pricier properties in the east – gradually replacing local citizens with foreign-citizens votes.
A property friend told me how rich foreigners have out-bid many locals in the east for resale HDB houses causing the resale price index to shoot up every quarter.
Most of them could also pay most or at least half of their property cost in cash – making them the darling of many banks out to capture a lucrative slice of the mortgage home loans.
History has also showed ominously that governments will go to all cost to stay in power – even if it means sacrificing its’ own people.
China’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is one good example of how a country has sacrificed its own people so that the party can continue to stay in power.
Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were killed in prisons when the government felt that the peace loving movement was getting very popular and felt threatened by the movement.
Malaysia also practised racial discrimination when the controversial bumiputra policy was introduced decades ago – more for vote snatching than anything else.
Malays are given free education up to tertiary level denying many Chinese from entering universities with a pre-set quota.
Many Malaysian Chinese have to pay astronomical sums for tertiary education abroad - a political price they pay for being the prawn in a power tussle for votes among the major political groups.
As Singapore prepares for a looming recession anytime soon, all eyes will be on our employers – whether they will be patriotic enough and do the necessary to retain all Singaporean workers and retrench foreigners.
Doing anything else will only mean mass anarchy and a possible riot in the street as our basic survival rights have being grossly threatened – which the government has turned a blind eye to all along.
More significantly, some Singaporeans I spoke to confided that there will be hesitation on their part if they are call upon to defend their country in a war-like situation if there are too many foreigners residing among us.
Written by: Gilbert Goh