Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Opium Of The Foreign Worker

Lee Kuan Yew used to take pride in that his government was not one to shy away from tough decisions which will steer the country out of the morass of economic doldrums. One cannot say same of his son leading a coterie of effete incompetents.

Opposition leader Low Thia Khiang gave them a wake up call by forcing them to face reality: the foreign worker levy has "become an opium, opium for the Government because it collects money from the levy, opium for the businesses because it was a soft option for them". Easy access to cheap foreign labour, Mr Low argued, offers little incentive for companies to boost up their productivity - the Government has to assume responsibility for the low productivity in the last decade, a decade of bad governance. Do away with the foreign worker levy, he proposed, and use a reduced dependency ratio to provide employment for local workers instead. "The reduced dependency ratio will force employers to look hard at how to reskill and make Singaporean workers productive instead of looking to relatively lower-cost foreign workers as an option to compete in the market," said Mr Low.

PAP MP Josephine Teo (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), exhibiting the crutch mentality of her colleagues, could only see the part about foreign labour being cheaper without the levy, completely ignoring the accompanying tougher recommendation of a dependency ratio. It's just demonstrative of their ingrained mindest so used to bleating "four legs good, two legs better." Mr Low castigated them for their impotent responses from the floor, "What solution do they have? Maybe they don't even have their own views because they are members of the Government and NTUC," reminding one and all of their sheep-like attitudes.
And if they still don't get it, Mr Low threw in a Chinese proverb for good measure - "hu jia hu wei" ( a fox assuming a tiger's identity) - to describe the the useless labour MPs as borrowing someone else's authority.

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