The dissatisfaction with Indian immigrants in Singapore is largely fueled by false claims made by the alternative Progress Singapore Party (PSP) about how the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has brought Indian professionals to come. here easily to work, said Minister of Health Ong. Ye Kung in a Facebook post Thursday (July 1).
Mr Ong said that while there are concerns about racist behavior in Singapore that need to be addressed, PSP’s “false allegations” about the ECSC have made matters worse here.
“The two recent incidents of verbal and physical assaults on Indians were disturbing and did not reflect who Singaporeans are,” he said.
He added, “They are occurring amid an undercurrent of sentiment against Indian immigrants over the past 2 years. There are concerns of Singaporeans that need to be addressed, but the discontent is also fueled in large part by false claims by the Singapore Progress Party (PSP) about how the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has given Indian SMEs a free hand to come and work here.
The two recent racial incidents Mr Ong was referring to are – the first is a high profile conference that verbally delivered racist remarks to an interracial couple, and the second involves an Indian woman who was verbally assaulted for her face mask apparently incorrect by a Singaporean.
In the message, Ong said that during the last parliamentary session in May this year, Law Minister K Shanmugam urged the PSP to table a motion to debate free trade agreements (FTAs) and the ECSC in Parliament.
Since PSP’s Leong Mun Wai recently accepted Mr. Shanmugam’s challenge to seek “further clarification” on overseas employment policies and the ECSC, Mr. Ong said he and the Minister of Labor, Dr Tan See Leng, will make ministerial statements on this issue at this month’s Parliament session. .
“In view of the tabling of the motion proposed by PSP, we have received numerous parliamentary questions on this subject, including several from PSP.
“To answer these questions, Dr Tan See Leng and I will be making ministerial statements at next week’s meeting – him as Minister of Manpower and Second Minister of Trade and Industry, and me as a former trade negotiator, ”said Ong.
The health minister continued by noting that the duo will talk about how important FTAs are to Singaporeans and how they work. They will also address “false claims” that free trade agreements allow foreign professionals to live and work freely in Singapore.
“We will also proceed to open our ministerial statements for debate. This will allow PSP members to respond to our statements if they wish, ”he concluded.
During the parliamentary session in May 2021, Mr. Shanmugam challenged Mr. Leong of the PSP to table a motion in Parliament to debate the ECSC, which the latter accepted.
Mr Leong said PSP is interested in addressing the issue of the ECSC at “some point”.
Following this, Mr. Leong wrote in a Facebook post on June 22, the PSP accepted the challenge of having “an in-depth debate” on the employment policies of Singapore and the ECSC, in the spirit of “protecting our national economy and our people”.
“We are confident that Singaporeans will benefit from the government’s disclosure of more information during the parliamentary debate and call on the government to engage in the debate with grace, openness, transparency and confidence that we all have Singapore’s interests. to heart.
“Therefore, we are happy to share that we will be requesting further information from the government at the July parliamentary session in view of the upcoming debate.
“Subsequently, the PSP will decide on the appropriate time to file a complaint. It will then be at the discretion of the President to confirm the date of the debate, ”he noted.
In his post, Leong pointed out that foreign SMETs and the Singapore Free Trade Agreement with India – especially the CECA – were the main policies that have affected Singaporeans’ jobs and livelihoods.