GE2015: Immigration policy U-turn has hurt businesses, says WP's Gerald Giam

Workers' Party East Coast GRC candidates (from left) Daniel Goh (behind the lady in white), Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, Gerald Giam and Leon Perera chatting with diners at a coffeeshop in Simei on Sept 8, 2015.
Workers' Party East Coast GRC candidates (from left) Daniel Goh (behind the lady in white), Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, Gerald Giam and Leon Perera chatting with diners at a coffeeshop in Simei on Sept 8, 2015.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - The U-turn in the Government's immigration policy has hurt businesses, Workers' Party candidate Gerald Giam said on Tuesday (Sept 8) as he defended the opposition party's proposed curbs on foreign manpower growth.

Speaking during a walkabout in Simei ahead of the Sept 11 General Election, Mr Giam said the WP is not at fault for causing "pain" to businesses and workers, because the party is suggesting solutions to a problem created by the PAP.

"My question is what was the Government thinking between the year 2000 and 2009, when the population grew at such a huge pace," he said.

"Were they leaving it to chance? Did they have in mind a population target? Did they plan for the infrastructure? It seems like they have not."

He went on to say that when the Government turned off the tap for foreign workers, the sudden policy change was what hurt businesses the most.

"Businesses are able to adapt, but they need time to plan, forecast what the labour projections are going to be and the pipeline of labour coming in. Where there's a sudden policy change, that's what hurt businesses more."

Asked if he felt ground sentiment had shifted after a week of intense campaigning and rallies, Mr Giam said the team has been "very encouraged by a lot of the support" they have seen on the ground.

WP chief Low Thia Khiang, has been spotted multiple times with the team on walkabouts in the GRC, in what Mr Giam described as the "forefront of this battle" for the WP at this election.

"We got a very good result the last time around, and we are hoping to convince voters that we are the team that can bring real change, improvements on the ground, as well as speak out for them in Parliament."