Singapore Party (PSP) Constituency MP (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai took to Facebook on Tuesday, July 20 to point out that ministerial statements by Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung and Minister of Health Workforce Tan See Leng earlier this month at Parliament did not provide all the data that PSP tabled in its parliamentary questions.
Mr Leong said PSP has filed seven questions requiring the government to disclose hundreds of data points of different nationalities and categories of work passes over the past 20 years. However, he noted that only two ministerial statements on this matter have been issued by the government, with only “a few scattered data points”.
“Besides the lack of data, we also found the presentation of the data to be problematic. For example, the data points were presented in a convoluted and confusing way, we requested data on PMETs but the data provided only covered SMEs, and so on, ”he added.
Earlier on July 6, Ong and Dr Tan delivered two ministerial statements regarding the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that PSP had requested.
Mr Ong wrote in a Facebook post before that, saying the ministerial statements would address “false claims” that FTAs allow foreign professionals to live and work in Singapore.
Returning to Mr. Leong’s Facebook post yesterday, the NCMP said it was “greatly encouraged” by the enormous interest shown by Singaporeans in the issues raised by the ministerial statements.
He noted that Dr Tan had pointed out that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the tripartite partners were studying the tripartite guidelines on fair employment practices in order to “strengthen measures to combat discrimination in employment. the workplace, ”adding that“ it won’t be long ”before the parties involved come back with a recommendation.
In addition to this, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ravi Menon, had also suggested tightening the allowable salaries for foreign PMETs from the Employment Pass and S Pass, in addition to “targeting individuals in companies found guilty of discriminatory hiring in favor of foreigners. ”.
Mr Ravi spoke about it during a conference at the Institute of Policy Studies, Mr Leong said.
“It is inspiring to feel the winds of change and encouraging to see the effect of PSP raising the right questions in parliament,” he said.
PSP to table eight more parliamentary questions
However, Mr Leong claimed that it was not enough to fine tune and adjust current policies as they “fail to address the fundamental problems that arise from lack of foresight to strike a balance in the labor market from the start.” .
He added that PSP would like to see a “deeper examination of the impact of foreign talent policy” as well as the large number of foreign PMETs entering Singapore’s labor market over the past 20 years.
“We want to see a clear government action plan that can bring tangible improvements to deal with the suffering of affected Singaporeans,” Leong said.
To do this, he noted that PSP needs more data from the government, adding that the data provided in ministerial declarations is insufficient.
Therefore, PSP will table eight more parliamentary questions at the next parliamentary session next week (July 26). The questions will ask for more comprehensive data sets and clarification of the few data points ministers have disclosed, Leong said.
“For example, we will ask for time series data from 2005 to 2020 involving professionals, managers and executives (SMEs). Health Minister Ong Ye Kung provided only two single data points for this period, namely that the total number of SME jobs created for residents (Singaporeans and PR) and foreigners was 380 respectively. 000 and 112,000, ”he explained.
Mr. Leong continued, “We will also ask for more details on the 97,000 jobs that the minister said have been created for residents by the 660 Singaporean companies that have invested in India since 2005.”
In addition, he also mentioned that Dr Tan’s reasoning on why the government does not publish detailed statistics on Singapore’s foreign workforce, especially by nationality, is “vague”.
Dr Tan had previously said this information was not released for “foreign policy reasons”.
“If there are no specific concerns, I urge the minister to provide all the data he can in the spirit of, in his own words, allowing ‘meaningful engagement’ on the matter. We need to look at the data and verify the facts before reaching a meaningful conclusion, ”Leong said.
“In attempting to present a narrative without complete data to back it up, ministerial statements simply lack the credibility that such statements normally have. As a result, there is also little credibility in mainstream media reports trying to support the same narrative, ”he added.
Mr. Leong went on to say that the government must know that it is not good enough to make “general statements and reassure when it provides little evidence to back up its claims.”
As an example, he said that Mr. Ong tried to phrase some questions in binary form which required him to give a simple “yes or no” answer.
To this, Mr. Leong said, “I think Singaporeans are sophisticated enough to understand that we can have nuanced positions on complex issues. For example, I have said several times in parliament that PSP fully supports FTAs in general. But the benefits of FTAs depend on their specific conditions versus our national conditions. “
“Although FTAs do not take away our sovereign right to regulate immigration, some may still restrict our latitude to formulate and implement our immigration policies,” he added.
Mr. Leong also urged Singaporeans not to be distracted by the allegations against the Alternative Party, noting that PSP has never said that the ECSC provides “unhindered access” to Singapore’s labor markets and that of such constant accusations are “regrettable”.
“They [PAP] distract from the real and pressing issues that genuinely concern Singaporeans, ”he wrote.
Mr. Leong concluded his post by stating that the PSP will continue to ask the “right questions in the preparation and during the #PSPJobsDebate to allow us to get a more complete picture of the situation of displaced Singaporeans”.