Ho Kwon Ping on Singapore’s immigration and labour policies

“Ho noted that in Australia, a builder gets a salary several times the salary of a construction worker in Singapore, although both countries have about the same per capita income.

“We’ve had construction development experience in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and so on. When we built our hotel in New Zealand we were shocked because the number of workers we engaged there was about 10 percent of what we would get in Thailand — because they are well trained,” he said.

“We haven’t bitten the bullet here. We are still addicted to cheap foreign labour in industries like construction,” Ho pointed out.”

“Our low-skilled workers are at a disadvantage today because salaries are quite low with the influx of foreign workers, so I think we need to ratchet that up a bit,” he added.


Regarding the ‘Singaporeans-first’ policies unveiled in housing and education, he noted that the PM has had to tread a very thin line on the “explosive” issue of foreigners, which many political leaders around the world have to grapple with.

“Any serious person will tell you that the advanced economies are not going to be able to grow or be able to get the talent they need if they are going to listen to the purely populist notion of protecting your people only,” he said.

“On the other hand, you have to be aware of populist sentiments and make people feel their concerns are being addressed,” he pointed out.

He agreed that issues such as overcrowding on buses and trains need to be tackled and corresponding policies rectified.

Nevertheless, Ho, who is also chairman of Singapore Management University, the country’s third national university, warned that it is “very necessary for Singaporeans not to be xenophobic”.

Read more here.

Posted in Dirty Politics

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My favourite quote today

"I am afraid the cruise ship is over capacity limit, and it used to be a luxury cruise ship. The designer’s claim that it is not sinkable, the name is Titanic. There are not enough life boats, no preparation or provision for failure. Thank you Mr Goh for reminding us." - Low Thia Khiang

"Till today, I am still puzzled by why the PAP cannot fight a fair election without gerrymandering, abusing the GRC system, basically, making sure they enter into a boxing ring with an opponent who is expected to fight them with hands tied behind the back. There is a reason why bullies are not popular in schools. Why not be the school prefect?" - Alvinology

"The question to ask is what lies at the root of the discontent or the disengagement between the G and the people. I am going to stick my neck out and say that it is ministerial salaries. I consider it the root of all evil. Serious. It reduces what should be a social compact into a business contract. " - Bertha Henson