24 June 2005


BG George Yeo. A victim of male pattern balding.

June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore and India have agreed to start recognizing each other's educational qualifications in architecture, accountancy and medicine.

Not many Singapore-trained doctors may want to rough it out in Indian hospitals. From India's perspective, though, sending more of its professionals to the city-state is one of the juicier parts of the so-called comprehensive economic cooperation accord that will be signed June 29....

Even before negotiations began with India in 2003 for the economic cooperation agreement, Singapore knew what it would be asked to concede.

``I believe India will push us on recognition of Indian professionals and our facilitation of their employment in Singapore,'' said Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo.

``We're prepared to do that,'' Yeo, who then oversaw the trade and industry ministry, said in an interview in March 2003.


1. Singapore Watch


Beach-yi said...

Oh thank you, thank you Mr Yeo, we are all so screwed now.

ENglish speaking cheap professionals, wow. we really are trying to edge out the China threat by importing the Indian professionals. (This is the implication of what will most likely to happen)

On the converse, maybe a mass exodus of Singapoeans going BACK from where our Ancestors came from won't seem too silly an idea now. How about that, reverse migration.

takchek said...

Lawyers I see are still protected somewhat...

As for doctors - I know for a fact that the local hospitals have been receiving applications from India-trained doctors since 1999 (possibly earlier, but I won't know). Because of registration issues, many work as underpaid lab techs or healthcare assistants. Now I suppose the floodgates are open.

Anonymous said...

Law school going to increase intake very soon - think hitting 400 a year excluding increase in size for dip sing. so say about 500 a year. Thats quite a lot for a country where its population does not really like to sue; and of course, property work has died, and corporate/commercial work - depends how one looks at it. but Mr Wang should know...

Anonymous said...

But seriously do anyone think that spore can thrive w/o immigration? Given our low birthrate, immigration is a reasonable solution.

However I don't like too many PRs though, it is better that the either hold work permit or become citizens. Being PR in Spore mean they cab enjoy the best of both worlds. Being treated almost the same as citizen yet w/o having to bear the responsibilty of citizens.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Citizens? Who would want to be citizens ... These Indians are smart, they're no suckers.

Anonymous said...

Then let them remain work permit holders then. Spore shouldn't offer PR to foreigners so generously anymore. We have too many PRs who refuse to become citizens.

Anonymous said...

Wang Zhen: your page renders in a mess when viewed through FireFox. Just thought you should know. It's okay under IE though.

Anyway, my parents were immigrants to Singapore, and in the early years we were looked upon and treated as outsiders. Even now there are traces of it, after decades here and holding Singapore passports. Thus I find myself usually unable to formulate a cogent argument against the government's 'foreign talent' policy that doesn't involve some indefensible prejudicial attitude based on emotion and not logic.

I think the problem is that Singaporeans, and I say this as one, are being treated as second class citizens in the race to make Singapore attractive to foreigners. And that's unfortunate. Bending backwards twice over for 'foreign talent' does nothing but created discontent amongst locals who are expected to be happy with the equivalent of table scraps.

Beach-yi said...


immigration policy as an answer to aging population is really trying to hit a fly with a sledgehammer.

Yes yes, we all heard and read about the case for AMerica but the difference in size and ability to absorb a similar proportion of foreigners is really quite different.

The only time if Singaporeans will not be adverse to such liberal policies will be when international borders are remarkably more lax i.e. labour mobility are equal for Singaporeans who want to move and live in a place where they are more valued as much as it is easier for the China nationals and Indians to come.

Singaporeans are now increasingly redundant, I suspect in the eyes of the elite, what more can they ask for? Increased tax base with less accountability.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Biased Observer,

Err ... Any idea what is causing the mess under Firefox?

jeffyen said...

I'm constantly wary of this specific argument that folks shouldn't be allowed citizens or PR or that they are too easily becoming citizens because they don't contribute much to the country/sg is stepping stone to somewhere else/they won't defend sg in times of war etc.

I'm also very interested in specific arguments about why, like biased observes, current citizens are treated as outsiders/second class; I think this is a much more urgent issue to address, if indeed it's actually true.

Anonymous said...

To understand the various liberal immigration policies of Singapore, especially this one listed below, that seeks to recognize India's medicine, accountancy and architecture qualifications, you have to go back in time to 1995 when two American economists, Alwyn Young and Paul Krugman, commented on Singapore's remarkable economic growth.

Let me quote Paul Krugman in his famous The Myth of the Asian Miracle,

Even without going through the formal exercise of growth accounting, these numbers should make it obvious that Singapore's growth has been based largely on one-time changes in behavior that cannot be repeated. Over the past generation the percentage of people employed has almost doubled; it cannot double again. A half-educated work force has been replaced by one in which the bulk of workers has high school diplomas; it is unlikely that a generation from now most Singaporeans will have Ph.D's. And an investment share of 40 percent is amazingly high by any standard; a share of 7O percent would be ridiculous. So one can immediately conclude that Singapore is unlikely to achieve future growth rates comparable to those of the past.

You see, once you fully understood Singapore's basic growth strategy, that is just keep increasing the amount of inputs into the growth process, you will understand why we keep harping on the need to attract foreign investments even at this 21st century (increase capital input) and why we keep harping on the need to increase our population to 7 million (increase labour input). 

Thus, what if Singaporeans refuse to study to PhD or refuse to reproduce accordingly like what Paul Krugman is saying above?  Simple, just increase immigration rate!  By doing so, this is like Singapore saying a big "fuck u" to Paul Krugman and Alwyn Young.

"You said our growth strategy was purely input driven and we cannot repeat the massive increase in labour participation rate in the 80s.  Let me show you what I can do in the 21st century, I can increase immigration rate, this is how I can repeat the same increase! Neh Neh Ni Boo Boo!" =)

akikonomu said...

Jeffrey is interested in evidence that actually prove the widespread beliefs that
1. Current profile of PRs and potential immigrants here don't contribute much to the country and thus aren't deserving of the Pink.
2. Citizens are treated as second-class with respect to the economy, immigration, and work.

I announce that I'll take up both his challenges and answer them within the week. It takes them to ferret out the hard data.

Anonymous said...

Dear akikonomo

Actually if u phrase the question this way, why would anyone with to get pink IC in the 1st place given that once u get pink IC you have to contribute more to S'pore and be treated like a 2nd class citizens.

Anyway I disagree that foreigners does not contribute much to S'pore but I certainly to feel that being a PR in Spore does not differ much from being a citizen. Therefore there is no incentive for 1 to become a citizen since your sons will have to do NS among other things if you decided to become citizens while you can opt out if you remain a PR.

That from my point of view is the crux of the problem. The differences between PRs and citizens are too little. Thus causing the resentment of the citizens who felt cheated.

Anthony said...

I believe the problem is largely anecdotal and image-based. Remember that half your Singapore population already has mandatory NS - that's a pretty big marketing hurdle to cross.

Add that to the fact that the Singapore Government harps -so- much on the need for foreign labour -while simultaneously- not addressing in concrete terms about the declining standard of living (it's a reality everywhere, not just in Singapore) and you have a big perception problem.

In short, I think that there's a problem with the way the Government is managing their information - they've dug themselves into a VERY big hole with their constructive disengagement media tactics and they can't bail out of this one.

jeffyen said...

Thanks aki, looking forward to your research... :)

akikonomu said...

Anthony, yes, it's a big hole, but I don't think they want to get out of this one. It's only a hole if they're worried about their legitimacy and their performance at the elections - and they shouldn't.

The ST of the past week is instructive:
In China, the government worries that growing income inequality will bring social ills and instability.
In Singapore, growing income inequality is touted by the propaganda press and the ministers as an artefact of globalisation (i.e. built in as part of the design itself).

Beach-yi said...

In Australia, they are all gasping about the ill effects of economis rationalism.

Now I think if ever someone tries to argue about the potential ill effects more reconomic rationalism will bring with the increase in FTAs will have on the Australian economy and society, I would gladly point them towards the direction of Singapore as THE Textbook case study.

(P.S: please do not bring in the point of differences in natural resource endowment, it is a factor but quite moot in my opinion).