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Iswaran to Singaporeans: Time to have an ‘honest’ discussion about our immigration policy

Posted by temasektimes on September 27, 2012

After opening the floodgates 10 years ago to foreigners without any discussion with Singaporeans, Second Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran now wants to have an ‘honest’ discussion with them.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a dialogue session a day after his ministry released a report on population and the economy, Mr Iswaran said he was glad that there was no ‘outright rejection’ of foreign manpower:

“I don’t think the basis of the discussion is xenophobia, which is very heartening. What I think they’re trying to come to grips with, and I think we all are, is really how our demography impacts our economy, the opportunities for ourselves, our children and in turn, how immigration and foreign manpower can help us.”

The discussion centred on how to bring foreigners in judiciously and this is where Singapore needs to find the right balance.

“So a calibrated approach to immigration, a calibrated approach to bringing in foreign manpower and having a sustained economic policy means being able to grow at a rate where on the one hand, the additions to our local population mix is done at a rate which we can sustain as a society and we can move with that and adapt to it,” he added.

Foreigners now make up 40 percent of Singapore’s population, up from 14 percent in 1990. Of the remaining 60% who are ‘citizens’, an increasing number are born overseas.


16 Responses to “Iswaran to Singaporeans: Time to have an ‘honest’ discussion about our immigration policy”

  1. alamak said

    Ony jus now earlier OM LKY declare “We are short of workers party today. We have 5.2 million people of whom 1.5 million are foreign workers… We need more.”, Other words no need discussion anymore. So whose word more powderfull hor?

  2. Albert Greer said

    Is Population Growth a Ponzi Scheme?

    By Joseph Chamie
    Thursday, March 04, 2010

    According to Ponzi demography, population growth — through natural increase and immigration — means more people leading to increased demands for goods and services, more material consumption, more borrowing, more on credit and of course more profits. Everything seems fantastic for a while — but like all Ponzi schemes, Ponzi demography is unsustainable.

    When the bubble eventually bursts and the economy sours, the scheme spirals downward with higher unemployment, depressed wages, falling incomes, more people sinking into debt, more homeless families — and more men, women and children on public assistance.

  3. Poison Ivy said

    Thank you Mr Iswaran for admitting that the PAP have been having dishonest discussions on this issue for years. Now get out of my peasant uncaring face.

    • seorang said

      I think it is not so much that PAP has been ‘dishonest’….rather, it is that this is a very hot, delicate and complex topic such that they shied away from a deep, public discussion.

      But I think they are beginning to see that it was a mistake.

      They need the discussion to

      1) bring people on board, i.e to support the policy.

      2) get public feedback(and even wisdom!) such that infrastructural problems like HDB, public transport and other potential issues might have been forestalled.

      3) and generally to create a culture in the government and the civil service which is more responsive to feedback on the ground. Because as policies gets implemented, problems will surface(for example, the pace at which migrants are coming in).

      If things work out well, it should be a learning process for all parties involved.

  4. Repenting Aljunied Resident said

    Looks like Iswaran has just admitted that The Singapore Conversation is just a wayang.

  5. Pink Panty Loong said

    Who is Iswaran?!

  6. rajan said

    Mr Iswaran, did you serve your NS and which unit were you attached to? This is for us to ascertain if you are a true blood Singaporean.

  7. Invictus said

    One way to start an honest discussion is to surround the conversation with YESmen and Party members. Nice !!
    Let’s see how honest the PAP can get especially after PM and MM just announced we need more 6m people in Sngapore. Especially when the decision has been made for us before the discussion is well underway

  8. Jeremy Fitzroy said

    I guess he probably doesn’t understand the Chinese saying 先斬後奏, which means first execute, talk about it later. It’s like crying over spilled milk, when it’s done it’s done

  9. Johnny AIy said

    Has it ever occurred to the ruling party that they maybe in the wrong on the immigration policy?

  10. cheated said

    Iswaran has never taken MRT or bus to work. Iswaran has never lost his job to cheap foreign labor. Iswaran has not lived in cramped living conditions. This NC is a waste of time. Conversation takes place when people are listening to each other with an assumption that the conversation partners will change their minds after listenting. Ruling party are NOT CHANGING THEIR POLICIES. Hsien Loong has already said that they have decided to increase to population to 6 million. Whats the point of having the conversation.

  11. TT said

    LHL said – we can accomodate 6 Million.
    LKY said – we need MORE foreign workers.
    Now this idiot say – time to have a “honest” discussion? hmmm….. i thought its cast in stone by the supreme commanders?

  12. Mary said

    PAP is a bunch of hypocrites when it ask for “honest” discussion. Singaporeans must not forget that the PAP tried to keep secret its decision to bring it large number of foreign workers into Singapore. The decision was made public by ESM GCT during GE2011.

    The PAP under LHL can no longer be trusted for its betrayal of Singaporeans with its pro-alien (i.e., anti-Singaporean) policies.

    • compatriot said

      This PAP government is indisputably and undoubtedly has taken for granted the trust and will of Singaporeans far too long since its inception.The government must clearly and nevertheless understand not to misunderestimated that it needed the will and support of the people for its governance

      The betrayal of feelings and trusts of the people practised by the state governance to the people can be very chaotic

      Hypothetically speaking,if in this presence,when there is an awakening of hostility of a regional strife blowing and looming in the air facing towards Singapore and its people do the PAP government think concerned Singaporeans as a people will muster as one people one nation will stand fast?

    • IronMan said

      PAPigs called us SG “xenophobic”, but in actual fact, they are in constant fear of their own kind ie us, citizens. Now what kind of phobia is that?

  13. P Koh said

    Is 2nd Trade and Industry Minister Mr. S. Iswaran serious about dialogue.? Does the government really listen to the populace and if it has been so, why then are the problems which have been circulated for some time now, seem to be on the back burner and not in the furnace. Perhaps it is time for our opposition parties to take this opportune moment to speak up like Dr. CSJ. I am really concern that our true Blue Singaporean identity and culture would soon be lost.

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