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19 Nov 2019  (1128 Views) 
Out of the box

Why a Singaporean First policy is beneficial
I read a statement from a PAP minister reported in the Straits Times five years back. The minister stated that a "Singaporean First" policy is bad for the economy.

I disagree. 

Let me first define what is a "Singaporean First" policy. It implies that the government has a responsibility to ensure that Singaporeans have a good job that pays a remuneration that is adequate to meet the cost of living.

How can the government achieve this responsibility?

It comes in two prongs:

a) First, the government should keep the cost of living low, so that most people can afford to pay their living expenses from their existing income. 

b) Second, the government has the responsibility to ensure that Singaporeans get jobs, before the jobs are given to foreigners.

Singaporeans cannot accept jobs that pay low wages, because they are inadequate to meet the cost of living. This requires the government to set a minimum wage that is adequate for Singaporeans. This may increase the wage cost for certain kinds of jobs, but it is an unavoidable outcome.

Most countries face this challenge. Why should the Singapore government not meet it?

Higher wages mean a high cost to be paid by consumers. The increase in consumer prices may not be that much. When businesses have to pay higher wage cost, they cannot afford to have fat profit margins or pay high rentals. The higher wage cost will be offset to some extent by lower profits and rentals, so that consumers do not have to pay the full extent of the higher wage cost.

When workers have adequate wages, they have the financial means to spend their wages. This will generate higher consumer spending, which is better for local businesses. It creates a more vigorous economy.

Most governments in other countries recognize their responsibility to ensure that their citizens have jobs that pay adequate wages. It is bad that the Singapore government does not recognize this responsibility and argue that a "Singaporean First" policy is bad for the economy.

We need to change this government.

Tan Kin Lian

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