2 full-page ‘foreign jobs’ “not bias”?


Is this 2 full-page report on the fall in foreign manpower “not bias” and “objective”?

I refer to the article (2 full pages) “Insight: Fall in foreign manpower – How changes to manpower policy are playing out” (Sunday Times, Mar 25).

It states that “Labour market figures released recently showed that the number of foreigners working in Singapore, excluding maids, fell by 32,000 last year – the biggest drop in 15 years. This was mostly due to fewer work permit holders in the construction and marine shipyard industries.”

As to “But notably, the number of EP holders also dropped by 4,500, the first fall in at least six years” – since it was reported in Today (Mar 15) that “S pass holders grew by 4,700, while the number of foreign workers on employment pass (EP) declined by 4,500” – does it mean that the total number of foreigners on S pass and EP increased by 200 (4,700 – 4,500)?


Why is there no mention of this in the subject Sunday Times Insight article?

With regard to “Meanwhile, more local workers were in jobs. Local employment went up by 21,300 last year, meaning 0.9 per cent more Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) were in jobs last year than in 2016” – last year the number of new citizens and permanent residents (PRs) granted was 22,076 and 31,849, respectively.

If we account for the foreign workers who were reclassified as resident workers when they became PRs or citizens – what is the unemployment rate of true-blue Singaporeans and how many of the jobs growth went to Singaporeans?

In respect of “The policies have boosted job prospects for local workers – with the growth in local employment rising in the past two years after a sharp drop in 2015.

The decline in foreign worker numbers has come about after moves by the Government from 2010 onwards to tighten manpower and immigration policies, after the economy emerged from a recession. It has also rolled out measures to support companies which invest in technology and in local workers” – since it was reported recently in the media that “From 2012 to last year, real income growth at the 20th percentile of full-time employed Singaporeans (4.3 per cent per annum) was faster than at the median (3.9 per cent per annum)” – since we can give the statistics on the income and unemployment of Singaporeans – why can’t we give the statistics for Singaporeans’ job growth?

In this connection, the mainstream media said to the “fake news” Parliamentary Committee that they try very hard not to be bias and to be objective, as otherwise they would be chastised by social media.

What do you think of the subject two full-page article on jobs and foreigners which does not even mention what is the percentage of non-Singaporean workers (foreigners and PRs) in the total workforce – which is estimated to be about 46 per cent (not including the average of about 20,000 new citizens granted per year)?

Leong Sze Hian





About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.