Singapore: Singapore will continue to seek professional and working class foreigners to be a better country, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has said.
He also dismissed Singaporean concerns about foreigners working in the country and competing with Singaporeans, saying it would be better to have someone doing the job that Singaporeans are not willing to do, according to local media reports.
Addressing some 400 people attending Singapore's Young Sikh Association forum yesterday, Teo reiterated the government stand on foreigners, saying Singaporeans needs to attract foreign professionals and foreign workers.
He said: "Some work here and go back. They make a contribution to Singapore and they earn a decent living for themselves.”
“Others come here to work for longer periods of time, and finally others, they come here and they finally decide to sink roots.”
“And they hope over time to become like you and me," the Channel News Asia quoted Teo as saying.
Teo, who is also Defence Minister, assured that the education system in the country has prepared the local people to thrive in a knowledge-based economy, and the competition they see from foreigners in Singapore was a global competition.
Singapore has a population of 5.08 million, of which 3.23 million are citizens and 540,000 permanent residents, of which the government is hoping that 50,000 would become citizens.
Singapore's population growth this year has slowed down to 1.8 percent from a year ago, a family growth pattern seen for several decades.
As such, the government welcomes foreign professionals and workers to keep the fast pace of its economic growth, which is forecast to expand by between 13 percent and 15 percent this year.
The forum was a post-National Day rally dialogue that the Singapore government is holding with Singaporeans on several issues facing the local people, including the arrival of foreigners, many of whom have become Singapore citizens and permanent residents and or are working in the city state on contracted periods.
It was attended by youths of all races and included foreigners.
First Published: Sunday, September 12, 2010, 10:26