ST Dec 4, 2006
Singaporeans 'always come first'
By Zakir Hussain
THE first responsibility of the Government is to Singaporeans, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday, when he announced plans to charge non-citizens more for education and health care.
He told some 1,000 People's Action Party cadres at the party's conference that 'while we have non-Singaporeans here, citizens always come first.'
Education and health are two areas in which the Government has not made a clear distinction between citizens, permanent residents and foreigners, Mr Lee added.
This will change, he declared.
In education, non-citizens will be charged higher fees, but the charges would not be set so high as to drive away foreign students.
Tuition fees for foreigners at universities and polytechnics here, for instance, are now 10 per cent above what Singaporeans and PRs pay.
As for health care, PRs will be charged more, while foreign workers are going to pay the full amount and their employers will need to buy medical insurance to protect them.
The Education and Health ministries will make these adjustments in the next few months, Mr Lee said.
'We have to treat visitors well, too, but citizens have to be treated better,' he added.
'Citizens come first in our priorities, in our thinking.'
Technorati: Singapore; politics.