From ‘WP’s proposal hurt Singapore SMEs and workers:Grace Fu’, 24 Feb 2013, article in Today online
…Posting on her Facebook page, Ms Fu said the WP wants to freeze foreign workforce growth immediately which she said, will hurt Singapore small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and workers. She said the government’s plan on the other hand is to significantly tighten the inflow of new foreign workers, but allow businesses time to make adjustment and help SMEs in particular, make the transition.
Ms Fu touched on several points raised in the WP’s paper. Among them is the argument that by raising the resident labour force participation rate, Singapore can maintain its non-resident workforce at the current numbers. Ms Fu said this will “cause great hardship to Singaporeans and SMEs”, which employ 70 per cent of Singaporean workers.
She said if these businesses fail, many Singaporean workers and their families will suffer and added healthcare, construction of HDB homes, and train lines will also be affected badly.
“WP argues that by encouraging more senior citizens and homemakers to work, we don’t need additional foreign workers. But how can our seniors and women fill the need for workers now where we need them most — such as construction and cleaning/maintenance?”, said Ms Fu.
Foreign labour has been the nation’s drug of choice for so long it’s expected that the WP’s cold turkey solution to creating a ‘dynamic resident workforce’ would come with its fair share of withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps this bold suggestion is just another ‘emotional hump’ that needs to be surmounted, though I’m not sure how many seniors and women are willing to do dirty, ‘low-skilled’ work like construction and cleaning in place of the junkie’s ‘high’ we get from foreign workers. Minister Fu was being selective in her blasting of the ‘Blue Paper’ of course, just like how everyone else zeroed in on the 6.9 million figure of its White counterpart.
I wonder if the SDP has their ‘Red’ paper in draft mode, though I hope it’s less clunky and has more images. I believe the reason why the average Singaporean doesn’t grasp the full picture of such policy papers is because it’s impossible to read them from start to finish without dozing off. WP’s paper may not cure our immigration addiction, but it can certainly cure insomnia. People want to read a summary of your executive summaries. The rest can be footnotes and appendices for the more serious-minded folks. The good news is that Singaporeans are at least aware that such documents exist. Some of us even begin to watch Parliamentary sessions in full over YouTube while the rest of the world is playing Candy Crush.
Grace Fu is one of the more vocal female politicians around, but I’m not so interested in what she used to do for a living (PSA CEO) or how she justifies her astronomical ministerial pay, but rather her bloodline, namely her father James Fu, ex Press Secretary to then PM Lee Kuan Yew. In 1986, the government restricted the local circulation of Time magazine based on their editor’s refusal to publish a correspondence in full, exercising its new powers under the amended ‘Newspaper and Printing Presses Act’. The article in question was ‘Silencing the Dissenters’, which LKY, through secretary Fu, took offence for its ‘factual errors’. Time was then accused of ‘meddling in domestic politics’ in its handling of a story involving the PAP’s ‘muzzling’ of Opposition MPs. The spotlight was on none other than beleaguered Anson MP JB Jeyaretnam (incidentally from WP). In 1988, Fu, on behalf of LKY, stung another powerhouse magazine, the Asian Wall Street Journal. A full page advertisement had to be bought over to publish government ‘clarifications’ on articles deemed to be ‘distorting’ the truth. His most prominent work for the PAP, it seems, was threatening to ban prestigious magazines altogether for ‘irresponsible’ reporting i.e media censorship. He was also once the ominous sounding Director for Information.
But wait, there’s more.
Long before his role as LKY’s mouthpiece, Fu was a reporter for the Nanyang Siang Pau. In 1963, he was ARRESTED during Operation Cold Store as a political detainee. Only LKY can explain how a political opponent would wind up as one’s personal secretary in 1972. In the same fell swoop was fellow ‘conspirator’ Dominic Puthucheary, who being Malaysian was readily banned from entering the country for ‘pro Communist activities’.
On 2 November 2009, ST published a feature with the headline ‘Son of former leftist is now PAP volunteer’. In fact, the ST were rather open with Puthucheary’s son about Daddy’s history with the ISD. This son is none other than Malaysian-born PAP MP Dr Janil Puthucheary. Another ‘son of a leftist’ is Ong Ye Kung, former Aljunied PAP candidate and now part of GLC Keppel Corp, his father being ex-Barisan Sosialis MP Ong Lian Teng. Such media fascination with Janil and Ye Kung as offspring of ‘leftists’ makes Grace Fu’s father’s past involvement with the ISD conspicuous by its relative silence. Any attempt to speculate why may end up with a totally different ‘Paper’ coming my way, one from the White camp seeing Red, which upon reading may see me turn Blue, then Yellow because of threats hurled my way, before this post, or even the blog, is forced to fade into Black.