Transitioning: Thanks Dave for answering the questionaire on the 6.9 million population target set out by our government by 2030. Can you please first state your educational qualifications, salary range, age, marital status and work experience?
Dave: Master’s degree, > $5k salary, 36 years old with 14 years of work experience. I am a Malaysian permanent resident working here for over 3 years and have applied for citizenship recently.
Transitioning: What is your view on the recent annoucement of 6.9 million population in Singapore?
Dave: Not very positive as Singapore is already packed with people today.
Transitioning: How has the announcement of the 6.9 million population target affects you personally?
Transitioning: Do you think that the government has already let in too many foreigners within a short period? How many foreigners do you think should be let in? Please elaborate.
Dave: It depends but I am leaning on yes, there are too many foreigners that came in within a short period. However, it also reflects a fundamental problem within the country as there are no workers willing to take up job on the lower end while it is also difficult to find qualify workers on the higher end. The matter of fact is that there is a big gap in the wages/salary compare to the living standard in Singapore. Living standard is too high for lower skilled foreigners to stay and to be integrated into the society (eventually they have to move back to their countries) while higher skilled foreigners usually do not find it appealing to be confined to a small country as they are usually also demanded in other countries. In the end, the foreign workers have to be replaced constantly.
Transitioning: How do you think the government can resolve the current foreign influx situation?
Dave: Deal with it internally through its own citizens. Government should help to shape a culture that emphasize on social happiness (ethical and spiritual) and less on materialism. By having more humble citizens that are happy spiritually, the citizens are more likely place emphasis on creating family (translate to higher birth rates) and also more attractive for foreigners to be integrated easily into the society.
Transitioning: Many people have commented that there is a lack of transparency on the foreign intake policy? Do you agree? What should the government do then?
Dave: Agree and government should publish the numbers of foreigner intake and make the data readily available.
Transitioning: Our government has mentioned that because of our low birth rate, they have to import foeigners to solve the problem. Do you agree with this policy? Why so?
Dave: Not really… only if the foreigners are adding value by staying and embrace the country’s goals.
Transitioning: Do you think the the current xenophobic sentiments are unfair to the foreigners and dangerous for social harmony? Please elaborate.
Dave: Depends on what kind of foreigners. Yes for low skilled foreigners but it does not mean they are dangerous for social harmony. Singapore citizens should not shun them away but embrace the foreigners like their own people.
Transitioning: There are also very few avenues for the locals and foreigners to intreact and integration programmes are mainly conjured by the government. Do you think that this is sufficient? Can you suggest some other social integration programmes?
Dave: It helps but that is on a very superficial level. Government could start from the ground level by getting the foreigner’s kids and local children interact with one another in school (the earlier the better). Social integration is not something that can be fixed by hosting a few events but a continual effort to set a common goal.
Transitioning: Lastly, do you think that Singapore really needs so many foreigners in order to survive? Do you think that the whole economy will collapse without them?
Dave: It a balancing act but some foreigners are needed but not too many. Limit the intake of foreigners by only accepting those who are most likely to stay and live in Singapore.
End of interview and thank you.