SINGAPORE - The misunderstandings and unhappiness over the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ceca) could have been addressed and nipped in the bud if the Government had released more information earlier, suggested Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh.
The Workers' Party chief made this point on Tuesday (July 6) during the debate after Health Minister Ong Ye Kung and Manpower Minister Tan See Leng gave ministerial statements on Singapore's free trade agreements and foreign manpower policies.
He noted that in 2016, fellow WP MP Leon Perera had asked the Manpower Minister for the number of intra-corporate transferees (ICTs) working in Singapore through Ceca.
The response was the ministry does not release data on the breakdown of foreign manpower by nationality.
In February, the Government disclosed that the number of ICTs working in Singapore was around 5 per cent of all employment pass (EP) holders, in response to Progress Singapore Party Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai.
On Tuesday, Dr Tan revealed that ICTs from India accounted for 500 of the 4,200 transferees in 2020.
Said Mr Singh: "If this information had been made known earlier, it does occur to me whether a lot of the misunderstanding, the reaction we see on Ceca could have been addressed and actually nipped in the bud.
"And so I hope the Government understands that with more information, actually, we can hold the line better in terms of some of these discussions moving into a realm of xenophobia and so forth."
Mr Singh was referring to misconceptions that have swirled around Ceca and how it purportedly allows the unconditional entry of Indian professionals into Singapore, which have been linked to an undercurrent of resentment towards immigrant Indians.
One point of unhappiness was over ICTs - overseas employees at an MNC who have worked for at least a year in the company, before being posted to a branch or subsidiary in Singapore.
Companies that want to fill a role with an ICT are exempted from the Fair Consideration Framework requirement that requires firms to advertise jobs on MyCareersFuture.sg, before submitting EP and S Pass applications. But the transferee still has to meet the prevailing work pass criteria before they are allowed to work in Singapore.
More at https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/misunderstandings-over-ceca-could-have-been-nipped-in-the-bud-if-govt-released
Responding to Mr Singh, Mr Ong said the Government is not always at liberty to disclose data, some of which is classified or secret. He agreed that it is better to provide some information promptly.
Yeah fucking right. I'd say the real reason was:
Erm at least we can take comfort in the fact Dr Tan didn't simply retort by asking what's the point of the question?
Relax lah, come watch Huang Yiliang scold PAP lackeys - confirm song song gao Joo Koon!
LOL this bugger can really act, a pity he has severe anger management issues. Then again good artistes are always somewhat unhinged. :P