In the recent parliamentary debate, Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing tried to cover up citizen employment data by attacking his questioner, MP Pritam Singh, claiming that the latter is trying to “drive a wedge” between Singaporeans and permanent residents.

In a failed attempt to support his beleaguered colleague, Minister Chee Hong Tat twisted the definition of the term commonly-used term, “locals”, and claimed permanent residents are not foreigners.

The public delivered their verdict on the outlandish defence put up by the PAP minister, and ridiculed Minister Chee Hong Tat further. Independent political analysts have also rallied behind Pritam Singh, confirming that his request for citizen employment data to measure manpower policies is perfectly valid.

Permanent residents are foreigners, and they should not form part of the employment statistics because this distort the actual representation of reality. This is clear as day, but when it comes to dodgy politicians like Minister Chee Hong Tat, it is timely to remind him the 3 primary reasons why PRs should never be labelled as “locals”:

1) Employment data of PRs distorts reality
Unlike Singaporeans, when PRs are unemployed for a long period of time, they fall out of the employment statistics because they just pack their bag and go home, where they can access a larger employment market many times Singapore’s size. This depresses unemployment figures and inflate employment numbers, distorting the actual figures. Conversely, unemployed Singaporeans have nowhere else to seek employment and they naturally form the “unwanted” unemployment data (that makes the government looks bad).

2) Citizens are the target of government policies, not foreigners
The Singapore government has grown so out of touch that they forgot the very purpose of government policies is to serve citizens, not foreigners. By including PRs as “locals”, the incumbent manpower policies are not effectively measured because the figures are watered down by the huge foreigner presence. Like what MP Pritam Singh asked, how do we know if the 2018 Industry Transformation Maps created more jobs for Singaporeans or foreigners (PRs included)?

3) Insult to Singaporeans
Calling PRs “locals” is a bloody insult to every Singaporean for the sole fact that they do not need to be conscripted in NS. There is nothing more unjust than being forced against your will to serve the army. These so-called “locals” do not even conform to our Singaporean culture or identity, and yet they enjoy equal employment and housing rights in the country. Please don’t ever call PRs a “Singapore local”, when they don’t even behave like one.

Alex Tan
STR Editor