Monday, February 25, 2013

Singapore's Real Problem

An article on Reuters indicated that some Singapore companies are planning to leave Singapore due to rising costs and slow growth. The article state that a “severe labor shortage” is hobbling businesses in Singapore as the government tightens its immigration policies.

As a Singaporean, I find that extremely strange because if there’s a tightening of foreign labor in Singapore, I sure haven’t seen it. Singapore has the most open immigration policy in the region, if not in the whole of Asia, and a “tightening” of the policy will make Singapore…well, still the country with the open immigration policy in the region!

It’s laughable to hear anyone complain that Singapore is losing business due to “immigration policies”. Seriously; if there is a country right now in this region with an even more open immigration policy than Singapore’s, please tell our government about it because they are being heavily criticized from all quarters for having too open of an immigration policy!

Singapore isn’t losing business due to our immigration policies; it is losing business due to high inflation. A resale HDB flat in Bishan smashes the previous record of S$1 million set by a flat in Queenstown when it sold for $1.1 million; COE for cars almost reach $100,000; at the same time, wages for Singaporeans are stagnant.  

It’s simple economics. No matter how much Singapore wants something, they will not be able to buy it if their wages are too low and the price is too high. Inflation, not immigration is Singapore’s problem and that is something that (hopefully) our budget this year would tackle. 

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