Parliament: New citizens should join volunteer corps, says WP's Pritam Singh

Workers' Party's Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) speaking in Parliament on Feb 6, 2013. He urged new citizens to join a newly-formed volunteer corps, and called on the Government to explain a multi-national trade agreement to Singaporean companies o
Workers' Party's Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) speaking in Parliament on Feb 6, 2013. He urged new citizens to join a newly-formed volunteer corps, and called on the Government to explain a multi-national trade agreement to Singaporean companies on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: TV SCREENGRAB

SINGAPORE - Workers' Party's Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) urged new citizens to join a newly-formed volunteer corps, and called on the Government to explain a multi-national trade agreement to Singaporean companies on Wednesday.

These were some of his suggestions on strengthening the resilience of Singaporeans, amid what he called "worrying developments" in the world, including South China Sea tensions between Vietnam and China.

"For Singapore the jockeying in our neighbourhood suggests that the external environment in the years to come are likely to be more, and not less, unpredictable," he said.

After all, "close to 40 per cent of Singapore compris(es) non-Singaporeans", he said. "In times of conflict, we can expect job losses and some foreigners returning to safer pastures. How will our municipal health, transport and telecommunication services hold up given the large number of foreigners manning them?"

To that end, he called on all new citizens to apply and join the first-ever Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps, which will be set up next year.

"I would urge (them)... to join hands with Singaporeans who already dedicate a minimum of 12 years of their lives to National Service," he said, adding that the Government should continue to explore how new citizens and Permanent Residents can contribute to national security.

He also called on the Government to explain the implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed expansion of a 2005 trade agreement among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore.

"For Singaporeans, the implications of the TPP have not been discussed beyond broad motherhood statements," he said.

"Will (it) allow Singaporean companies to go overseas and do business the same way big companies are allowed to come to Singapore and complete for major contracts with local business? Which businesses and industries, if any, are likely to be killed off by the TPP?"