Instead of relying heavily on global talents, Singapore should focus on training and grooming locals to be world-beaters, said Raj Singh, founder and CEO of occupational safety and health service company Simply Safety in a Facebook post on Saturday (12 September).
Mr Singh said this following a statement by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing last week. Mr Chan noted that the country’s foreign worker policies are moving towards “quality rather than quantity” but Singapore still welcomes foreign talent.
“Every country facing economic slowdown in (a) recession will have elements questioning the balance between locals and foreigners in the job market,” Mr Chan said.
Singapore will continue to bring in foreign talent “in a calibrated manner” in order to create opportunities for Singaporeans, he added.
“Let me be clear. We want the world’s best and brightest to be with Team Singapore – to augment our skills and capabilities, competing on our side rather than against us, and ultimately, to benefit Singaporeans, not to substitute or to hurt them.”
However, Mr Chan noted that: “We will continue to make Singapore the preferred hub for companies to connect and do business with Asia and the rest of the world”, adding that one way to do this is to remain open to foreign talent.
To this, Mr Singh opined that Singaporeans agree that by and larger the country needs foreign workers as well as global talents. In fact, he noted that the people of Singapore agree that the Republic needs quality global talents.
“But hand to heart, go out there to the working world (or) industries. Go and ask yourself (if) these people are really global talents?” Mr Singh asked.
While he concurred that a certain percentage of global talents are really good and the locals can work well with them, but he questioned the rest of them.
“But the rest of them? The rest of the Employment Pass, S Pass and Dependent Pass holder, are they really global talents? You mean we can’t do those jobs?” the CEO asked.
Mr Singh went on to point out that what the country needs is to groom local young talents to be world-beaters.
“Here is an easy fix since we like doing easy fixes for sports as well competing with the world market. We have about three 3 plus Singaporeans, why don’t we replace all of them with global talents?
“There are 7 billion people out there in the world. I’m sure we can headhunt very good people,” Mr Singh said.
He also highlighted just growing the country for the sake of growing is “useless”. Instead, Singapore should focus on taking care of its people, both the past and future generations.
“We need to grow the country for Singaporeans. We need to take care of our Singaporeans. We need to take care of our past generation and our future generations. If we are just growing for growth sake, that’s useless.”