Wage differences should not be nationality-based

As a Singaporean who grew up with the message that Singapore is a meritocracy, I was surprised that anyone could accept that some people are paid differently for the same job, based on their nationality ("Equal rights for all workers not possible" by Mr Sim Lim Onn; Forum Online, Jan 10).

While I concede that not everyone will receive the same perks and benefits, the reason for the differences should be job-related rather than nationality or race-related.

Like it or not, the local population may not have certain skills that the economy needs, which makes it necessary to bring in people from elsewhere. In the past, these people, more often than not, came from the West.

They were paid more so that they would move here and utilise their skills for our benefit, not merely because they were Westerners.

We also have to acknowledge that people charge different prices for the same job. For instance, someone from Bangladesh may be content with a much lower pay than what someone from Germany would accept.

While it is not possible to ensure that everyone is treated equally, we should do what we can to see that people get rewarded for talent and performance, and not nationality, race or religion.

We should accept that some people get paid more for doing a better job, for taking the risk to leave their comfort zones, or for having certain skills that others don't have.

We should not accept that it is natural for people to be paid a wage based on their nationality.

Tang Li