Thursday, 14 February 2013

Government should revamp the PR system

14th February 2013

We now have 3.29M of citizens and 0.53 PRs. The PRs therefore consume extra allocation of resources meant for citizens by about 16%.

Why do we need PRs in the first place? Foreigners apply for PRs just for convenient and monetary considerations and nothing else. Becoming citizens is not an immediate consideration as they would have become citizens immediately if they are qualified to.

When a person comes here to work, it’s not becomes of PRs, but the overall package deal – financial, environmental and social considerations etc. When these objectives are met they will come here to work. Similarly considerations for citizenship. There is no need to give PRs. This sweet bait only benefits PRs and “supposedly” make working in Singapore more attractive ?

The government should just give employment permit and passes for different categories of labour we seek. This free up resources given to PRs to be deployed for its citizens, those who had committed their lives here. If foreigners wanted to enjoy the same benefits, they can convert if they are qualified. In these end we get committed people to stay and get rid of free loaders.  To smoothen transitions PRs can still be given for those qualify to become citizens, but this should have a time limit, perhaps for 2 years. After that, they will need to decide to become citizens or revert to employment permit or passes and lose all benefits of PRs.
This move will:
a.      Differentiate the citizens and free loaders who just want to be PRs. Citizens will not complain about PRs enjoying better status than them.
b.      Deployed country resources to deserving citizens who serve the nation with NS etc. They will benefit more (5-10 % more resources now for them in subsidies, grants etc). With a differentiate citizenship, the government can deployed schemes to help locals to bring up their incomes and living conditions.
c.      Make an immediate case for foreigners to decide, to become citizens or just become work permit holders. This enable country to plan better with clear cut profiles of their workers and loyalty to Singapore.

There is no need for fear of losing PRs who may quit Singapore with the new policy. Frankly they are only here as body counts and nothing else. If there are better deals elsewhere, even with PR they will also quit and move out. This move will also differentiate the sheep from the goats and where their loyalty lies. Just look around, how many qualified PRs are here for more than 5 years and not converted to citizens ? No point prolonging something that does not benefit the nation. The government must show that citizenship have its privileges.

It’s time to think out of the box and implement policies for Singaporeans and nothing else, for that is the reason you are elected.

John Ong

* PRC Zhang Yuanyuan came to Singapore to study and work in 2003. She got her PR in 2005. She returned to Beijing in 2008 to work in a state-owned enterprise. In 2009, she participated in the PRC’s 60th National Day celebrations as part of a women’s militia contingent. During the CCTV interview, she reportedly said (in Mandarin), “People have asked me why I’m willing to undergo the tough (military) training and I say that serving my motherland is my biggest wish.”
Editor’s note: First and foremost, foreigners come to Singapore to work primarily for the job opportunity and to earn S$. Why do foreigners like to apply for PR? Simple – it allows them to change jobs easily or to stop work temporarily without the fear of exiting from Singapore. Work pass holders will have to leave the country if they no longer hold the job. It makes it difficult for them to find the next job if they are out of the country. This is the most important consideration for foreigners when come to applying for PR.

Source: TRE website

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