I’ve said a lot about immigrations in Singapore already, so I was thinking of avoiding the topic for awhile. However when Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong spoke on the issue twice in three days, what the hell!
SM Goh said that new immigrants help sustain and enrich the quality of life of Singaporeans and that Singapore needs new Permanent Residents (PRs) and new citizens, or Singapore will not be able to expand the population.
All good, fine and well. However when he said that “it is possible for new immigrations to become loyal to Singapore, to Singaporean values, and to contribute to Singapore society”; that’s when I have a problem.
It is possible; that’s without question, but when you have a Chinese PR who went back to China, took part in the Chinese National Day parade and then openly said that she is unsure if she want to return to Singapore, that’s a little rich. The vast overwhelming majority of immigrants are here strictly for the money and they own little loyalty to Singapore, which is fair in my view because Singapore is NOT their homeland. I can understand perfectly why that Chinese PR above felt more loyalty to China than to Singapore.
SM Goh also said that he understood how Singaporeans felt crowded out by all the new citizens and PRs, whether in housing, jobs or schools, and that new immigrants were perceived as "taking advantage" of better opportunities here.
I do not understand why the Singapore government continues with this line of argument. First off, the sheer number game tells you there’s not enough new housing of all the new immigrants. Singapore has accepted more than 100,000 foreigners per year while HDB only built like 8,000 flats per year. What else is there left to say on that?
As for new immigrants being perceived as coming to Singapore to take advantage of better opportunities here; of course they are here to take advantage of the better opportunities here! Seriously, why else would they be here? If Singapore didn’t have better opportunities, these new immigrants wouldn’t be here.
SM Goh is right when he said that this is an emotional issue for most Singaporean. That is why the Singapore government needs to come up with better excuses/reasons for the Singapore people. The Singapore government also needs to be honest about the problems the new immigrants are causing. Our housing market is over-heated yet we have a government minister saying “HDB figures showed that eight in 10 first-timers could get a flat on their first try if they were not choosy ; the success rate was 96 per cent for the second try”.
The other problem the Singapore government has is that most Singaporeans believed the government is only saying this stuff now because there is a general elections coming. Once the elections are over, the government will go back to its old habits.
Now that’s a view the Singapore government do not need.