Forum: Treat foreign workers as collaborators, not competitors

The Ministry of Manpower said that when "businesses have access to a broader range of skills, Singapore is better able to attract strategic investments that expand job opportunities for our people" (Manpower policies focus on support for Singaporeans, June 26).

I agree. If we want to build up our reputation for excellence in every field and be regarded as a top-tier city, we must not be afraid of competing against the best.

Only by doing so can we remain at the top of our game. We need to put time into work, study or training, just like Joseph Schooling, our Olympic swimming champion.

Young Singaporeans should strive to match foreign talent in industriousness and fortitude. After all, Singaporeans have home-ground advantage.

For our older workers who, due to the natural process of ageing, have become less dynamic, a change in mindset is needed. They have to accept more scaled-down roles with correspondingly decreased remuneration. However, the Government must also step up to provide adequate social support when these older workers are displaced, as these older workers have contributed so much to the economy when they were younger.

As our population is rapidly ageing, capable foreign workers and immigrants who wish to work or set up businesses here should not be discouraged from coming, as they are a valuable human resource needed to improve our economic output.

By contributing to our tax base in the form of personal income tax, company tax or consumption tax, they also contribute to Singapore's coffers to support the elderly, the infirm and people with disabilities.

They also provide valuable networking opportunities for our local businesses that may want to expand to other countries.

As Singapore is not a cheap place to do business, we must offer multinational investors a deeper talent pool for them to consider us above other cities. And to achieve this, we must treat our foreign workers as collaborators rather than competitors.

Anne Chong Su Yan (Dr)

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