Foreigners who live and work here contribute to our economy and society. They are very much a part of our local community.
Yesterday in Parliament, Lawrence Wong moved a motion for Singapore to stay open in a globalised world. He also asked Parliament to support the government’s management of the foreign work pass numbers, and to deplore the spreading of misinformation about FTAs like the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to stir up racism and xenophobia.
Our policies on foreign workers have created many jobs and opportunities. Still, Singaporeans are anxious and concerned about competition from the foreigners working here. We are addressing these concerns, and the problems caused by having a large foreign population in our midst.
But as I said at the National Day Rally recently, we must remain open and welcoming to foreigners. If we turn inwards and become hostile to them, it would ruin us as a global hub and cost us investments and jobs (https://go.gov.sg/ndr2021-el).
The debate stretched past midnight. It was an important debate. At stake were not just our policies on foreigners, but the values of our society, and our confidence and resolve to face an uncertain world, and chart our way forward together.
I am glad MPs took a firm and unequivocal stance against racism and xenophobia, and firmly rejected attempts to use Singaporeans’ fears and anxieties to divide and weaken us. It bodes well for our future. – LHL