Foreigners needed for S’pore to compete worldwide: MM

25Apr11

Lee Kuan Yew tells Singaporeans to accept more foreigners.  ST:

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has weighed in on the continuing need to bring in foreign workers and talent from abroad so that Singapore could take on the world-wide competition for growth and progress.

Addressing Singaporeans’ concerns over the influx of foreigners who they fear are threatening their jobs, MM Lee said at a Tanjong Pagar GRC family day on Saturday evening that Singapore needs 900,000 foreign workers on two-year work permits.

‘They do the construction and other heavy work, jobs Singaporeans are not willing to do,’ he said.

He noted that while these foreigner workers are on two-year work permits , which can be extended several times, they will not stay here permanently.

On drawing talent from abroad, he cited how this has helped the United States to do better than Europe and Britain because it is an ‘embracive society, welcoming newcomers’.

‘This is one reason for the success of Silicon Valley where new ideas sprout up, are tested and implemented,’ MM Lee told the gathering of residents from Tanjong Pagar, where he has been the MP since 1955 when he first won the seat.

For the coming polls, the Tanjong Pagar GRC team is expected to comprise Mr Lee, Ms Indranee Rajah, Mr Baey Yam Keng, Dr Lily Neo, and new candidate Major-General (NS) Chan Chun Sing.

MM Lee, 87, also told the constituents how he stays fit. ‘I exercise every day, walking, cycling and swimming. If you do likewise, you will also keep trim and fit like me,’ he said.

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One Response to “Foreigners needed for S’pore to compete worldwide: MM”

  1. 1 P. Ghesquiere

    I am a returning Singaporean who has lived the last 31 years in North America. Mr. Lee is right that Singaporeans should not be threatened by the influx of foreign workers whether it be for white or blue collar jobs. The Singapore government has so much foresight and planning designed for this society that Singaporeans fail to realize how fortunate they are compared to their counterparts in North America or Europe or other parts of Asia. Singaporeans should instead strive to learn from their peers and become competitive on a worldwide level. There is so much to learn from the advances in those societies. Sometimes it takes one to live in those societies and experience life there to appreciate the good life the PAP government has brought to Singaporeans. Singapore still has some ways to go to catch up with G7 countries in many areas to become a leader. Having experienced people to come and work in Singapore to share ideas is mutally a privilege for both Singaporeans and expatriates. We should be thankful for leaders who have great foresight and wisdom to plan so well for the nation and people who are willing to come and live amongst us. There is still much to learn.



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