Data show foreigners bring in jobs, not take them away

Dear MM Lee,

I refer to the 30 Apr 2011 report of your comments on foreigners bringing in jobs.

You produced data showing how total employment rose by 786,000 from 2006 to 2010. Why are we creating so many jobs when we only need a small fraction of those jobs for Singaporeans? Are we bringing in the right investments? Are we bringing in the right jobs? Are we bringing in too many jobs that Singaporeans don’t wish to do?

You said half of the 115,900 new jobs created last year went to locals. The word “local” is not clear enough. Tell us how many actually went to Singaporeans and where Singaporeans fit in those new jobs.

You said Applied Materials employed 85% Singaporeans and PRs. Again, not clear enough. A foreigner can be here one moment and then PR the next moment and then gone from Singapore at the next earliest moment. So tell us how many percent are Singaporeans.

You cited employment figures from Global Foundries. Is this the best example you can give? Are all other examples worse or much worse?

So the data is not clear enough. Giving the example of one, two companies is not good enough. Giving data which mixes Singaporeans and PRs is not good enough. You have not proven anything other than the fact that the government is not giving sufficient information for Singaporeans to judge how well Singaporeans have benefited from the jobs created.

You ask us to think like an investor starting a factory or a logistics company. All else being equal, I will try to bring costs down as much as possible and that can only mean low wages for workers, Singaporean or otherwise.

You said reckless claims are made during elections. But these are not claims but questions that people have been asking all this while for the umpteenth time already. Clearly you have not been listening to us all this while.

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