Creating a level playing field between Singaporeans and foreigners is a key issue for the Government, but tightening the inflow of immigrants should not be the sole solution, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday.
Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister, called on voters to support the efforts of the People’s Action Party (PAP) government to not only tighten the foreign labour policy, but also upgrade the skills of every Singaporean.
The government will also help companies survive, so they can create better opportunities and high-quality jobs that can spur income growth.
Mr Tharman is helming a five-member team in Jurong GRC against a team led by Singaporeans First’s (SingFirst) David Foo.
At a press conference last Friday, SingFirst singled out immigration as the main issue that its candidates would address. The party’s secretary-general, Mr Tan Jee Say, said SingFirst was not against competition from foreigners, but that it wanted Singaporeans to be given fair opportunities.
Mr Tharman said he was “glad that (SingFirst shares) our views and priorities — particularly having a level playing field for Singaporeans”, which is “foremost” on the minds of the PAP government.
He added that the government is especially concerned about middle-aged and mid-career Singaporeans and, as such, has made “significant” moves to tighten the inflow of foreign labour.
However, that cannot be the only answer, Mr Tharman said. “There’s no extreme solution that will solve problems. And when you’re government, you don’t have the luxury of extreme solutions. But the path we’ve taken with the significant rebalancing is going to achieve the results we want — higher incomes over time for all Singaporeans.”
Mr Tharman also urged employers to play their part in respecting middle-aged and older workers. “We need a culture of looking for the most in our middle-aged and older workers,” he said.
news source & image credits: todayonline.com