English proficiency should be mandatory for new citizens: Darryl David

English proficiency should be mandatory for new citizens: Darryl David

In his first parliamentary speech, the MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC calls on the Government to introduce English language proficiency as a pre-requisite for Singapore citizenship.

Darryl David

SINGAPORE: While foreign talent is needed for Singapore to progress, a basic level of English-language proficiency and mandatory annual community service hours should be among the pre-requisites for Singapore citizenship, Mr Darryl David suggested in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 26).

"I believe that we need to attract the best talent from around the world and bring in new knowledge and skill sets that are not available locally," he said. "However, I would urge the Government to consider introducing language and other assimilation requirements for PRs before they are granted Singapore citizenship."

Mr David said the challenge today is not in the integration between ethnic groups, but between Singaporeans and new citizens.

“At a community event welcoming new citizens last year, I observed that there were quite a few new citizens who had trouble communicating because of their inability to speak basic English," he said.

"Grassroots leaders have also provided feedback: Some of the new citizens tend to not get involved in community events and activities because they feel that they aren’t able to communicate with their fellow residents of different ethnicities.”

His recommendations could help new citizens develop a deeper understanding of the wider community and society that they are in, said the MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC.

"These measures would undoubtedly help new citizens assimilate and integrate better into our social and community fabric, and that in turn would allow them to better contribute to Singapore's growth and development," said Mr David.

Source: CNA/ll