S’poreans first can be good for economy in the long run

I refer to the 28 May 2014 Straits Times report “S’poreans first’ hiring not good for economy in the long term”.

Dr Amy Khor said that a Singaporeans first policy would not benefit our economy in the long term as firms that experience hiring constrains might be prompted to move out of Singapore.

We cannot suppose government and government linked companies will move out of Singapore if they fail to hire foreigners can we? Will the Singapore Police Force move out of Singapore if it fails to hire foreigners?

Similarly, service based industries that rely on face to face interaction to do business with the customer cannot move out of Singapore without also losing the Singapore business.
• McDonalds cannot move out of Singapore without losing the business of selling burgers in Singapore. It will take hours for a JB McDonalds motorcycle rider to deliver a McDonalds meal to a customer in Singapore.
• Petrol kiosks cannot move out of Singapore without losing the business of distributing petrol in Singapore. They can at most sell ¼ tank to every customer that drives to JB.
• NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Shiong and 7-11 cannot move out of Singapore without losing their distribution businesses in Singapore

As long as there is money to be made that requires face to face contact with customers, firms in Singapore will not move out of Singapore despite hiring constrains.

Dr Khor should realize that the Fair Consideration Framework will not solve the problem of unfair hiring practices. Foreigners in charge of hiring decisions can continue to hire their own nationals after advertising their jobs on the national job bank for 14 days even if there are Singaporean applicants with the right skills. Dr Khor is therefore not putting Singaporeans’ interests first because the grown economy and increased job opportunities will still go to foreigners. Dr Khor’s call for practicality is a mere call for laziness as it doesn’t go far enough to solve the problem.

Dr Khor claims that in a globalised economy, competition for jobs is between countries and not within countries. Dr Khor is only partially correct. In a globalised economy, a country that has job protection for its nationals only has to compete with other countries for jobs. But a country that has no job protection for its nationals not only has to compete with other countries for jobs but also has to compete within the country for jobs. So it is double competition for Singapore compared to another globalised economy with job protection.

Doctors, lawyers and dentists are quite well protected from the globalised economy because not any foreign university degree in medicine, law or dentistry is recognized in Singapore. If the Ministry of Manpower can similarly limit work permits to Singapore qualifications or qualifications from elite institutions of education, it will not only give Singaporeans a leg up in our job search, it will also boost the value of our university degrees and polytechnic diplomas. What remains then is simply to improve the relevance of our university and polytechnic curricula to industry.

If Singaporeans first has been good for doctors, lawyers and dentists for so long, why can’t it be good for the rest of the economy in the long run?

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One Response to “S’poreans first can be good for economy in the long run”

  1. oute Says:

    Right, you should be in Parliament…instead of those who spoke about “constructive politics” and wasting public monies..

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