PM Lee worried about two disturbing trends: a failure of his leadership

The quiet PM Lee has spoken of two disquieting trends in Singapore while in Phnom Penh.

I will just focus on the one about the growing divide between Singaporeans and foreigners that he mentioned.

PM Lee’s government opened the floodgates to foreign workers in their thousands, and people from third world countries happily obliged and piled in. The result?

Locals replaced by cheaper labour, depressed wages, an over-stretched transport system, scholarships freely given to foreign students, the inability of foreign workers to communicate in English, questionable qualifications of foreign workers, soaring housing prices, foreign enclaves, lack of integration by foreigners and so on.

After opening the floodgates, there was no oversight. With greater profit to be made with cheaper labour, companies bent the rules with impunity. Singaporeans became increasingly sidelined and marginalised.

In short, the government fell asleep at the control while the locals were seething with frustration and anger.

Within the short space of two decades our population leapt from three million to five million. Who wouldn’t be complaining?

Wikipedia has this to say on our population: By end of June 2011, the island’s population stood at 5.18 million with 3.8 million citizens and 1.4 million non-resident foreigners and is the second most densely populated independent country in the world (behind Monaco).

If PM Lee sees himself as some kind of seer with all this talk of trends, why didn’t he, as the world’s highest paid Prime Minister, see the ensuing problems that come with a tsunami of foreigners on our shores? His Ministers, the highest paid in the world as well, also failed in this respect.

Instead of blaming Singaporeans while overseas, PM Lee should address the concerns of Singaporeans with a greater sense of urgency and sincerity.

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