Recently, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said that "we don't have enough manpower", and that only Singapore citizens can be Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers (Checkpoint officers working their guts out: Shanmugam; Dec 28).
Everybody would agree that only Singaporeans can be ICA officers.
But there are thousands of retrenched and retired Singaporean professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who can be considered for employment as ICA officers, perhaps on a part-time basis.
They can also perform office duties, for example, handling passport applications and renewals at the ICA Building.
Such a move will free up the regular ICA officers for deployment at the front line at checkpoints, especially during peak travel seasons.
Having enough part-time ICA officers would also help ensure that the regular ICA officers are not overworked through overtime duties, which may affect their vigilance on the job.
It will also be easier for these regular ICA officers to take leave.
Of course, this may allow us to see more checkpoint counters being manned and opened, as well as provide more employment opportunities for our retrenched and retired Singaporean PMETs.
Tan Soon Hock