Ever since the 1997 National Day Rally speech when Goh Chok Tong announced the PAP shift in economic policy to open Singapore's doors to foreign talent, the PAP has gone on an ideological and public relations offensive to market and defend the foreign talent policy. At all levels, the policy was dogmatically defended - from the PAP parliamentary backbenchers, right up to the Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew himself.
The policy has literally wreaked havoc on this country.
Businesses have been made addicted to the narcotic of cheap labour at the expense of genuine innovation and productivity improvements. Wages for many have stagnated incomparison to the cost of living that has skyrocketed. Others have been displaced from their jobs and forced into unemployment, underemployment and gross underutilisation of their skills. Meanwhile, income inequality is the highest in the world, a precursor to serious social problems on the horizon.
Transportation, housing and healthcare infrastructure has been overloaded. Trains are breaking down ever so regularly, buses are excessively crowded and traffic jams are clogging up our roads. Housing prices have skyrocketed, forcing many youngsters to rack up excessive debt loads that will come at the expense of their retirement funds and leaving others without a home to settle down in. Hospitals are packed, with patients having to lie in their beds in walkways while waiting for a vacant room.
The Singaporean people, suffering the consequences of the PAP's misguided economic policy, finally decided that something had to change. For many Singaporeans, the problems were a wake-up call after years of political apathy and self-centered fear. Many who thought all would be just fine and dandy simply by depending on the PAP and its 'intellectual class', finally realised that there was something seriously wrong with the political system and the economic outcomes it produced for them. They went to the polls in 2011 and handed the PAP a big wake-up call.
Today, the Government officially u-turned from its long held ideology, Tharman announced what many have been longing to hear.
Skilled Singaporeans core to companies' competitive advantage: TharmanIs this too little, too late?
12:06 PM Mar 21, 2012
SINGAPORE - Companies must actively look out for and groom local talents, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday night.
He said companies can build lasting competitive advantage, an advantage that rests on a skilled and experienced core of Singaporeans even as expertise and skills are brought in from abroad.
Therefore, companies must provide locals the necessary exposure, training and career development opportunities, so that every Singaporean can maximise his potential, he added.
Building an inclusive society is not just about government redistributing resources to help those in need, Mr Thaman added.
He said Singapore can only be an inclusive society if employers treat their workers with respect, help them develop themselves, and reward them fairly. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Many of the problems created by the wrong policies aren't going to go away quickly. Singapore is going to have to go through a long period of economic restructuring before it returns to the right track. Trains are still breaking down and buses are still overcrowded, as they will be for years to come. Many businesses which are used to have depending on cheap labour are going to suffer, if not fail. Many unskilled Singaporeans are going to lose their jobs as the low value-added industries they work for pack up and relocate. Many of those who bought property in the last couple of years are going to be saddled with oversized mortgages that will take them the better part of their lives to repay. Not to mention the retirement bombshell when they realise they do not have enough money in their CPF accounts when they finally leave the workforce.
The pain will last for many years to come. But Singaporeans have reason to be optimistic if they throw off the shackles of selfishness, egotism and fear. If Singaporeans take their political destinies into their own hands, rather than abdicating it into the hands of a totalitarian few, then there is reason to believe that we can look forward to a better tomorrow.
For there is no other choice. Our very survival depends on it.