Singapore’s survival dependent on economic relevance to global economy

Year: 2020

This post is written as a brief comment to an article published in The Straits Times titled: Parliament: Retain Singaporeans over foreigners if retrenchment needed, urges Gan Siow Huang (31 August 2020)

“FMG considers the perspective put forth by Minister of State Gan Siow Huang to be populist, nativist and antagonistic to the spirit of Singapore. It has always been an open, meritocratic and rugged economy and society. Singapore has an unavoidable reliance upon the contribution of foreign labour at all levels, both today and even more so tomorrow, as it rapidly ages.

Her comments run the risk of giving implicit consent to corrosive xenophobia, nativism and small-mindedness.

FMG agrees that Singaporean workers should be supported but we do not believe that they should be protected from the harsh realities of being in a competitive economy. Singapore is not competing with itself, it is competing with the best Cities in the world. How many times must the lesson be learned that Singapore’s survival is entirely premised on our economic relevance to the global economy?

This is a large cheque that cannot be cashed with our small account of local talent.

This pernicious and persistent pandering to populism which has taken a grip of the new government, if maintained, will weaken the Singaporean spirit, create moral hazard and send a loud signal that Singapore is not only a small island but small-minded and that its days of audacity and ambition are passed.”

– Devadas Krishnadas