Finance Minister Lawrence Wong tabled a motion in parliament on securing jobs and livelihoods for Singaporeans, which is similar to the motion tabled by Leong Mun Wai, non-constituent member of Parliament of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) , Leong Mun Wai last week.
Earlier, Mr. Leong tabled a motion to debate Singapore’s foreign talent policy and the provisions of certain free trade agreements (FTAs) in parliament.
The motion was tabled following its acceptance of a challenge filed by the Minister of Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam, last May, to file a motion on India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (ECSC) in order to that a debate can take place on this subject.
Mr Shanmugam was quoted saying, “There have been several ducks about CECA promoted by a whisper campaign. If anyone here thinks the ECSC is a problem, make a motion for it, debate it openly, and let’s see if Singaporeans benefit or lose.
“I’m looking at you, Mr. Leong. I invite you to present a motion to debate the ECSC. You know that most of what is said about the CECA is false, ”he added.
Responding to Mr. Shanmugam’s challenge, Mr. Leong said that the PSP is interested in addressing the issue of the ECSC at “some point”.
Although two ministerial statements were made by Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung and Minister of Manpower Dr Tan See Leng at the July parliamentary session, Leong said in an article on Facebook on July 20 that ministers had not provided all the data requested by PSP.
He noted that PSP had 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, but that two ministerial statements on the matter have been issued. issued by the government, with only “a few 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, ”NCMP said.
Following this, Mr. Leong submitted a motion to discuss the national foreign talent policy and the provisions of some FTAs on August 31.
He said in a Facebook post that the private member’s motion is scheduled to take place on September 13 or 14 under the normal procedure, in which the debate will focus on how to improve jobs and livelihoods for Singaporeans. .
“The ECSC is not our main concern and has been imposed on us by the government,” Leong noted.
However, it appears that Finance Minister Mr. Wong also tabled a similar motion in parliament on September 8 to debate on the same day as the debate on Mr. Leong’s motion on September 14.
This prompted Mr. Leong to bundle the two motions together in a Facebook post on Thursday, as he noted that “many Singaporeans may be confused as to why two similar motions are needed on the same day.”
Below is the motion presented by Mr. Leong on August 31:
“That this Parliament call on the government to take urgent and concrete action to address the widespread concern among Singaporeans about jobs and livelihoods caused by the foreign talent policy and the provisions on the movement of natural persons in some free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. . “
While the following motion was tabled by the Minister of Finance on September 8:
Securing Jobs and Livelihoods for Singaporeans: May this House
(a) recognizes Singaporeans’ concerns about employment and competition in a globalized and rapidly changing economy;
(b) affirm Singapore’s need to remain open and connected to the world in order to grow and prosper;
(c) supports government actions to manage the foreign labor population, ensure fair treatment by employers and invest in education and skills development, in order to create more good jobs for Singaporeans;
d) Calls on the government to continue updating and improving its policies to ensure the well-being and livelihoods of Singaporeans in an uncertain post-pandemic world; and
(e) Deplores attempts to misinformation about free trade agreements such as the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), stirs up racism and xenophobia and arouses fear and anxiety among Singaporeans.
Despite the obvious redundancy of their motion, Mr. Leong said, “I always look forward to having an open, objective and fruitful debate in Parliament, with the aim of forging consensus on how to rebalance the foreign talent model. “
“I certainly hope we don’t get bogged down in unnecessary political postures and labeling that obscure the real issue at hand; but to arrive at pleasant and concrete decisions ”, he added.
Now, what is special about this is the fact that the ministers of the People’s Action Party (PAP) are able to table such a redundant motion in Parliament.
Why was there even a challenge to Mr. Leong to table a motion on the ECSC in the first place, when the Minister of Finance can just table a motion like that?
Additionally, the motion was tabled just a week after Mr. Leong submitted his motion to Parliament, both of which are expected to be debated on the same date, September 14.