The Straits Times
Published on Dec 11, 2012

Govt handled illegal strike correctly


I DISAGREE with the reported call by Human Rights Watch ("Human Rights Watch: Drop charges against bus drivers"; Singapolitics, last Thursday) for Singapore to drop the charges against the SMRT drivers involved in an illegal strike and end pay discrimination based on nationality.

First, bus drivers provide an essential service, and a strike action by them has a drastic effect on public life.

Second, pay differences between workers of different nationalities happen everywhere and not just here. In fact, Singapore pays a premium for talent, regardless of nationality. Pay is market-driven and is based on demand and supply.

Singapore companies are not charities and hire foreigners because they have special skills or are cost-effective.

Foreigners like me work here not out of charity but for better pay, and the fact that this is a safe and beautiful garden city to work in.

It is a win-win situation for both parties.

The Manpower Ministry and the Home Affairs Ministry did an excellent job in handling the illegal strike decisively and swiftly.

The publicity of this case will let the world understand that this country implements policies that are practical, and not based on charity or as an intellectual exercise. This governing policy of practicality also explains its excellence as a nation.

Sim Lim Onn