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The Pandemic Exposes the Fallacious and Mendacious Reasoning Behind the PAP’s Foreign Worker Policy

In a statement on 16 March 2021 Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed that total employment dropped by 166,000 in 2020. However more than 100% of this was accounted for by the drop in non-resident employment (-181.50000) while resident employment actually rose by 14,900.

MOM’s presentation of statistics is confusing to say the least, with the obvious intention of gaslighting Singaporeans. I have advocated for years that we need an independent Statistics Authority such as in the UK. For instance the drop in non-resident employment was nearly 13% of the entire non-resident workforce in 2019 and nearly 5% of the total workforce. This was the biggest drop in two decades! Yet figures from Statistics SIngapore show the total labour force (which is defined as the total of employed and unemployed persons over 15) only shrank by 29,000 while the overall unemployment rate only rose from 2.3% to 3%. Resident unemployment rose from 3.1% to 4.1% and citizen unemployment from 3.3% to 4.2%. Presumably the majority of the non-resident workers were repatriated after losing their jobs resulting in only a modest rise in unemployment rather than the 5% rise that should have occurred.

MOM’s statistics also show the participation rate (which is the employed labour force divided by the population over 16) actually rising between 2019 and 2020 from 68% to 68.1% which again is undoubtedly the result of unemployed non-resident workers being sent home. The participation rate of course looks artificially high compared to other developed economies precisely because some 40% of the workforce is non-resident and if they lose their jobs they are sent home almost immediately. While this flatters the overall unemployment rate, the resident unemployment rate is also artificially low because Singaporean NSmen will be counted as employed. Similarly those doing subsidised SkillsFuture courses of questionable merit will be excluded from the unemployment statistics which is one of the reasons why the Government is so keen on ensuring laid-off workers embark on “retraining.”

Compared to the US, which experienced a big jump in productivity during the pandemic, Singapore’s performance has been mediocre. Real value added per hour worked only rose by 1.3% in 2020 but real value added declined by 3.4%. This is largely the result of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which kept people in jobs even if, as in the case of aviation and tourism, there may have been a permanent shift in demand. It would probably be better, as in the US, to provide unemployment benefits and universal income during this period, to allow labour to be redeployed to sectors with better future prospects. The actual fiscal impact of the JSS, like the new Jobs Growth Incentive, is obscure since a lot of the money flowed to Government-owned companies. One reason for it may have been to protect the positions and salaries of the PAP-linked, and in many cases related by marriage or blood, of the management of these companies.

What the Government cannot hide, and what these statistics tell us is the fact that a large part of the foreign workforce is unnecessary. The PAP have always said, and Singaporeans have mostly accepted, is that the elasticity of substitution between foreign workers and Singaporeans is low and therefore that they are not competing with Singaporeans for jobs. In layman’s terms, they are supposed to be doing the jobs Singaporeans do not want. In particular, the PAP have pretended that they do not keep wages and working conditions for Singaporeans lower than they would otherwise be, or at least not significantly. Instead the PAP have always said that the foreign workforce is complementary. These lies have been firmly put to rest by the pandemic. Employment of non-residents fell by 182,000 but the employment of residents (citizens and PRs) expanded by nearly 15,000. While it still does not explain why, if this is the case, the citizen unemployment rate rose a full % when the population did not change, this fact should finally lay to rest the myth, propagated by the PAP, that a foreign workforce of nearly the same size as the resident workforce is essential if Singapore is to prosper. If the PAP Government tries to return to the status quo after the pandemic is over, Singaporeans should wise up.

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

 

About the author: I’m a Singaporean economist who became an opposition activist. I blog to provide an alternative to the porkies that the Pinkies tell. It just so happens that my alternative is the truth. That’s why I’ve never been sued in any civil or criminal court no matter how hard hitting my criticism. I’m quoted and interviewed and asked to speak across the world but largely censored in Singapore in an effort to silence my political opinions. The left hate me because they think I split their vote and because I eschew their outmoded economic models. Models that don’t work. The Right and the Conservatives hate me because I’m a liberal. I’m not sure what the middle think of me. I don’t think there are more than a handful of people in the middle, here in Singapore. I’m a Singaporean born and bred, dual heritage, my parents Singaporean established here before the State of Singapore was created. I’m not Eurasian. I read economics at Cambridge and could be broadly described as from the Keynesian school but I believe in interventions. I was formerly a successful hedge fund manager. After economics and politics my greatest interests are history, film and Makan. I run but I run so I can eat like a Singaporean.

 

 

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18 Responses to “The Pandemic Exposes the Fallacious and Mendacious Reasoning Behind the PAP’s Foreign Worker Policy”

  • liew mun leong must be jailed:

    as long as sheep votes and continues to vote pap, pap will NOT change.

    but there is hope. when WP wins East Coast and Marine Parade besides Aljunied and SK, and PSP West Coast, during GE2024, pap balls shrink and Cbs stink.

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  • Kelanda:

    Wise up is the last thing sg.do.

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  • Majority Conservative Xtians:

    https://youtu.be/_7zlTqJQVp8

    Rising star in politics :
    Walid Jumblatt bin Abdullah
    Prof at NTU.

    Articulate and can debate with any politician.

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  • xoxo:

    Dont say i say.
    They say not i say.
    PRs and Sinkies are same.
    But they say SINKIES PINK I/C LIKE PEE M’S FAVRE COLOUR AND PRs BLUE IC.

    SAME OR NOT?

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  • xoxo:

    Everywhere we witness increasibg RACISM especially from westerners against asians.
    This is a fact that is as clear as sunlight.

    * THE SUN SHINES ON EVERYONE,ALL PEOPLES *.
    BUT,westerners still dont get it and think supremely of themselves; HEAVEN IS WATCHING CLOSELY FROM A DISTANCE.
    AND SO,THE COVID PANDEMIC TO STOP THE MAD FLOWS OF HUMANS THAT OCCURRED IN RECENT YEARS.
    THIS,AS IF,TO PREVENT MORE CATASTROPHE that could have taken place with SUCH EXCESSIVE HUMAN FLOWS MAINLY ARISING OUT OF THE ATTRACTION OF KING $.

    HEAVEN IS SAYING *TIME TO SLOW DOWN N REFLECT* BUT NO ONE IS LISTENING?
    GUESS STUBBORN HUMANS ARE ASKING FOR MORE SEVERE PANDEMICS like the GREAT FLOOD IN NOAH’S TIME?

    WELL,POWERFUL N GIFTED HUMAN$ BELIEVE MORE IN *$* THAN IN GOD???

    BELIEVING IN GOD IS FAST BECOMING A TABOO EHILE HIGHLY EDUCATED HUMANS

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  • xoxo:

    Sorry,continue…
    While highly educated practise and believe in the OCCULT???

    GUESS *$* IS FAST BECOMING THE MODERN DAY GOD OF MORE EDUCATED HUMAN$?

    GOOD VALUES N VIRTUES ARE VIEWED AS BAD.
    AND,EVIL N CROOKEDNESS ARE UPHELD AS *GOOD*?

    AND,YET,IN MORE DECENT COUNTRIES LIKE SINGAPIRE,GOOD SGS ARE SEEN AS XENOPHOBIC BY RACIST-INCLINED FTs that are so eager to cone and make money(and nothing else) here with the blessings of the daft gahmen.

    Sgs are among the nicest humans on aggregate,i can say,save for younger ones who are fast morphing into the same type as thec *racist* ALIEN$ that flock here.

    Xenophobic?
    My ass!

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  • Reboot:

    Singaporeans are too timid to realise that the facts are out there, the local population is 3.5M and overall 5.8M.

    PAPPy created so many jobs for so many? Dream on… of course many locals are relegated to menial jobs or unemployed.

    All the stats are manipulated to look good but surely you got brains to think?

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  • Statistics Manipulatable:

    Statistics lie and easily manipulatable to paint the desired OUTCOMES.

    Its Manipulators are the Greatest Liars.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Singaporeans to wise up? Not so sure they could!!

    Have Singaporeans ever think why so much land were cleared for building when we have more people dying than babies were born? Are they thinking those buildings going to be for Singaporeans?

    Have Singaporeans ever thought about GRCs are meant for minority races representation in Parliament but only useless Chinese MPs needed GRCs to enter Parliament?

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  • They lost narrative control:

    Reboot:
    Singaporeans are too timid to realise that the facts are out there, the local population is 3.5M and overall 5.8M.

    PAPPy created so many jobs for so many? Dream on… of course many locals are relegated to menial jobs or unemployed.

    All the stats are manipulated to look good but surely you got brains to think?

    Many politicians have been raising this issue for at least a decade and many Singaporeans stl waiting to hear it from the horse’s mouth, and waiting for instructions

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  • Happy:

    Exploit.

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  • PAP is Finished:

    Don’t need a pandemic to expose this.

    But a lot of people out there don’t read internet politics.

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  • Religious & race represntation:

    PAP is Finished:
    Don’t need a pandemic to expose this.

    But a lot of people out there don’t read internet politics.

    Which sg accounting academic questioned the reserves ?
    Sg is controlled primarily by brute force fear. If fear removed, PAPAYA guarantee gone in the sebse that thwre will be equitable people representation in terms of parliament seats.

    GRC is for race representation.
    But by virtue of regardless of race and teligion,
    Where is the GRC for Religious representation?
    What religious followers are the majority in parliament?

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  • PAP is Finished:

    Most of these academics are in PAP’s employ.

    Religious & race represntation: Which sg accounting academic questioned the reserves ?
    Sg is controlled primarily by brute force fear. If fear removed, PAPAYA guarantee gone in the sebse that thwre will be equitable people representation in terms of parliament seats.

    GRC is for race representation.
    But by virtue of regardless of race and teligion,
    Where is the GRC for Religious representation?
    What religious followers are the majority in parliament?

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  • flickshit:

    If PAP don’t lies, they should have fallen donkeys year ago. Now all have to wait for them to go to the deepest hell for repentance.

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  • Two systems under one roof:

    The Pappies of Sinchiapor Inc. Sia!
    The foreign workforce is a $$$ goldmine for the pap CEOs of the government-linked companies. Not hard to imagine those elitist money minds desire cheaper foreign labour salaries for “their companies” plus got levy taxes sia! This is the foul assembly whose higher education has failed to secure them from the heinous degradation of being the 4th most corrupted crony-capitalist regime in the world bunched together with Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and India. While they leegal hold sway over the sheeples citizenry whose original patriotic genes have garnered us 3rd most transparent socio-economy in the world! How in hell do they pull this fast one over us…… banking unscrupulously on Singaporeans goodwill?

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  • Leadership n professional:

    A true leader needs no crisis to sustain his power. A honest leader needs no bootlickers n brownsoersin greeds with ownself gratifying n glorifying ownself. His to boost his confidence n image n to protect n shield him from adversities since acgood leader treasures his human values, his sensibility towards greeds n hence impropriety leading to demands of entitlement inevitably ends up particularly his integrity, his sense of responsibility which comes with accountability. Neither would he need him his party members to be compliant aka bootlicking n brownosing him as he would expect they put nation n citizenry before party to speak up with their human consience n remain truthful n faithful to his faith upon which they recite their oath of serving in the interests of the nation n her people courageously n more important to be true to democracy upon which the Constitution is based in the case of a nation declaring to operate within democratic tenets, particularly freedom of speech, justice in particular no one is guilty until proven with solid evidence n not dependent on wealth, association, family background nor education n race.

    Is this what really happens in Singapore? Why Singapore needs ISA, the very Colonial tool to sustain their colonial power against dissidents who ultimately secure getting rid of the colonial bondage? Adopting it fits in the sacasm of George Orwell succintly described in his animal farm with the resounding “4 legs good n 2 legs r better” not long after they the 4 leggeds successfully displace the two legged human n took over the power of deciding their own fate.

    USA under Trump has really exposed the e*** of greeds in leaders even in democracy n the helplessness of the Americans to combat racism n anti democracy. The claim of world leadership n champion of democracy over the past decades were proven beyond doubts to be fraudulent even comparing with communism. So good leadership depends on leaders able to control themselves from stripping off their human values n replacing them with greeds n self gratification n glorification A political platform is only ceremonial form!

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    Reported on TR Emeritus Website on 12th November 2014 : ” Yesterday (11 Nov), The Economic Times reported that India and Singapore are on the verge of signing a “mutual recognition agreement” that will make it easier for Indian nurses to work in Singapore.

    Apparently (‘India-Singapore to sign a pact for movement of nurses‘), “India and Singapore are making progress in signing mutual recognition agreement for para-medical courses that will make it easier for domestically trained nurses to get work” in Singapore.

    “Our nurses are highly sought after… we have made some progress in Singapore and soon we should have some kind of movement of nurses (to Singapore),” Additional Secretary in the Commerce Ministry J S Deepak told Indian reporters.

    While India and Singapore have reduced customs duty on goods since the implementation of the free trade agreement in 2005, they are yet to sign the mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) that honour each other’s educational and professional qualifications, The Economic Times said.

    Once an agreement is signed, degrees and certificates given by Indian institutions would be valid in Singapore.

    ESM Goh started “India fever”

    The warm relationship between India and Singapore actually started in the 1990s when Goh Chok Tong, then PM of Singapore, initiated a “mild India fever” with the aim of establishing deeper ties with India.

    Following the warming of ties, a free trade agreement – the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) – between India and Singapore was later negotiated and signed on 29 June 2005 during PM Lee Hsien Loong’s state visit to India. This landmark agreement is India’s first ever CECA and Singapore’s first comprehensive bilateral economic agreement with a South Asia economy.

    Under CECA, there is a section that talks about MRAs [Link], which will facilitate the freer movement of professionals across the 2 countries.

    MRAs will provide means to recognize each other’s education and professional qualifications. Indian and Singaporean PMETs in the stated professions (including nursing) will be able to practise in the respective countries, meaning that Indian nurses can work in Singapore and vice versa:…

    It is not known how many Singaporean PMETs are willing to work in India given that S$1 is about 50 rupees but certainly, there will be no shortage of Indian professionals willing to come to Singapore.

    Indeed, there are currently about 200,000 Indian nationals in Singapore, working in IT, finance, scientific research and other industries – including laundry services where an Indian “foreign talent” was caught last year using a fake university degree to obtain an S-Pass to work as an assistant manager illegally. He reportedly drew a salary of S$2,000 per month (‘Indian FT uses fake BA degree to work as assistant manager‘).

    Rampant corruption in India.. ”

    Response :This is few year back post! So it is ESM Goh that started the “Indian Fever” destroying our jobs! Pui to bast**d Goh !

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