Saturday 18 August 2012

Inflow of foreign manpower needs to be calibrated to Singapore's interest: Tan Chuan-Jin

By Joanne Chan, Channel NewsAsia, 16 Aug 2012

Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said the tightening of foreign manpower should be at a pace that enables Singapore to grow in a sustainable way, yet protects the people's interest.

But he warned that policies which make it difficult for companies to do business in Singapore will ultimately hurt Singaporeans.

Mr Tan's latest comments come days after he issued a written reply to a parliamentary question on the impact of restricting foreign workers in Singapore.

In a message posted on his Facebook page on Thursday, Mr Tan said economic growth is "not a bad word" but growing at all cost is.

He added that having an attractive environment helps to draw and keep good companies here.

This in turn provides good jobs for Singaporeans.

Mr Tan said while "happiness isn't quantified by the material alone", employment and helping wages to grow provide people with a foundation to build on.

Reflecting on the previous economic downturn in 2008, Mr Tan said Singapore managed the situation well and fared better than other countries.

But the steps taken to turn things around "came at a cost".

He added that with hindsight, the inflow of foreigners could have been better calibrated.

Mr Tan also warned of a slowing global economy, saying that should the situation continue, it's not a question of "if", but "when" it would hit Singapore.

Mr Tan also said he wants to see a dynamic environment which offers good opportunities for Singaporeans to realise their own dreams and aspirations.

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