The Straits Times
Published on Feb 27, 2013

'Cold' policies don't nurture trust


ONE group that drew my attention during the recent Population White Paper debate was permanent residents (PRs).

Despite being married to a Singaporean, my mother was granted permanent residency only in 2001, after 27 years of being on a Long-Term Visit Pass.

She has lived in Singapore for 40 years, and gave birth to three Singaporean children who now have decent careers and their own families. The men served national service, like any other Singaporean.

Yet at different points over the last four decades, my mother has been denied citizenship for reasons we do not know.

She is now 65 and in good health. She is also fully insured for care in a private hospital, receives an allowance from us and works at a neighbourhood coffee shop occasionally when it requires additional manpower. Although she is 65, she can still contribute to society.

When she was younger, she was probably denied PR status and citizenship as she did not have a sponsor with a stable income.

Over time, as my siblings and I became independent and could qualify to be her sponsor, she was still denied citizenship, probably because of her age.

All she wants is to be like her children, to stand in the same line at immigration when travelling, and to die a Singaporean.

In recent years, we have seen a deluge of PRs and new citizens in our neighbourhood, and we cannot help but wonder why my mother, who has stayed here through thick and thin for 40 years, is denied the citizenship her children enjoy.

Why are our policies so "cold"? Such an approach does not nurture trust with the people ("Govt needs to regain people's trust"; Feb 10).

Kim Heok Eng