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White Paper on Singapore Population

The White Paper on Population was recently passed by Singapore’s Parliament, but the response to it has been far from positive. Aside from the public outcry, the business community has also criticised it for being heavy-handed in its foreign labour restrictions. The biggest issue of contention has to do with the government’s tighter controls on foreign labour. In a united move to oppose the paper, nine foreign chambers of commerce have written an open letter to Acting Minister Tan Chuan-Jin. “Our members are concerned with the revision of government policies pertaining to the employment of foreign workers in Singapore and the resultant impact on the operations of foreign and local companies and the overall economy,” the letter, signed off by Australian Chamber of Commerce president Graham Lee, stated. It also warned that further tightening of labour would result in many organisations moving their operations overseas, and with that, many job opportunities for Singaporeans. Local firms are likewise feeling the pinch. Seah Kian Peng, MP for Marine Parade GRC and CEO of NTUC Fairprice, says his organisation is feeling the manpower crunch. Some 10% of its workers are foreigners.

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