Foreign worker quota cut a double-edged sword

It is becoming common to see Singaporeans working for companies run by foreigners, which is a sign that Singaporeans are losing their competitive edge.
It is becoming common to see Singaporeans working for companies run by foreigners, which is a sign that Singaporeans are losing their competitive edge.PHOTO: ST FILE

It was announced at this year's Budget that the foreign worker quotas will be cut for the service sector in a bid to ensure good jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans (Foreign worker quotas cut to protect S'poreans' jobs, says Chee Hong Tat, Feb 27).

On the other side of the coin, however, Singaporeans may be overprotected by this change.

Competitiveness is important for sustainability, and I have found that foreign workers are more competitive than Singaporeans.

Moving to Singapore is itself an investment and a risk, which pushes them to work harder.

It is becoming common to see Singaporeans working for companies run by foreigners, which is a sign that Singaporeans are losing their competitive edge.

Singaporeans need to regain this competitive edge and not simply rely on their nationality. Otherwise, we will be left playing catch-up in the long run.

We should not be afraid of hardship or failure, as they hone a person's competitive edge.

Young working adults should be focused on building their careers and gaining a footing on the corporate ladder.

Protecting Singaporean jobs with the quota cut may be a double-edged sword.

While ensuring good jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans is necessary, being overprotected can make someone unable to sustain himself once it is gone.

There needs to be a competitive environment to learn from.

Koh Siow Khai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2019, with the headline 'Foreign worker quota cut a double-edged sword'. Print Edition | Subscribe