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Parliament: WP's Chen Show Mao and PAP's Cedric Foo debate on immigration

Published on May 30, 2014 3:02 PM
 
Inbound passengers from Doha arriving at the immigration counters in Changi Airport Terminal 3 on May 18, 2014. The People's Action Party's Cedric Foo (Pioneer) attempted to pin down opposition MP Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC) on his stand on immigration in Parliament on Friday, May 30, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party's Cedric Foo (Pioneer) attempted to pin down opposition MP Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC) on his stand on immigration in Parliament on Friday.

In a clarification to Mr Chen's earlier speech, which focused on successful ageing in Singapore, Mr Foo asked the former if he felt it necessary for the inflow of immigrants in the long-term future to deal with the country's ageing populace.

To this, Mr Chen said he felt the focus should still be on "the growing of a resident workforce".

He added: "When targets we set for the growth in our resident working population .. are not met, then I think at that time foreign workers may be.. increased so that we're on a path to growth as we have planned."

But Mr Foo took issue with this, stressing that he was asking specifically about the flow of immigrants into the country.

"There will be 900,000 Singaporeans above the age of 65 and families are getting smaller.. we do need immigrants and I'd like Mr Chen's comment on whether he welcomes immigrants and whether he would rally the support of Singaporeans to bring about these immigrants," said Mr Foo.

To this, Mr Chen replied that the Workers' Party has "nothing against immigrants coming to Singapore", but also vouched for an "orderly growth within limits".

WP chief Low Thia Khiang also stood to re-inforce the party's position - that it was "not an anti-immigration party".

He said: "We welcome foreign talent but talent, real talent, not immigrants who are taking away the jobs of Singaporeans or taking away opportunities that Singaporeans could have been better served."

He also highlighted the need to keep a strong Singapore core, arguing that with immigrants coming in, it would be "too simplified to assume..they will integrate with Singapore and Singaporeans".

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