SINGAPORE: An MP has come up with a suggestion that Singaporeans be given a role in the process of evaluating applications for Permanent Resident and Citizenship and create some meaningful roles for the community in the naturalisation of citizens.
Speaking in Parliament during the Committee of Supply debate for the Prime Minister's Office, MP for Jurong GRC Ang Wei Neng noted that PR and citizenship applications are currently evaluated by the government.
He argued that if Singaporeans are accepting newcomers to join the Singaporean core, it made sense for existing members of the core to express their views on the matter.
Mr Ang proposes that PRs be required to obtain some form of community endorsement, as the final hurdle to cross, before clinching the Singapore Citizenship that they want.
He said this could be in the form of obtaining endorsements from 10 Singaporean "community assentors" who are the applicant's acquaintances in the workplace and in the neighbourhood.
Elaborating, Mr Ang said for applicants who are working adults, five assentors could be colleagues or workplace acquaintances, and five could be their neighbours.
"The idea of giving the community a say in naturalisation is not completely new. The cantons in Switzerland practice a version of this," he said.
For the "assentors" scheme to work, he adds that Singapore needs some rules, guidelines and safeguards to ensure impartiality, fairness and to pre-empt undesirable implications such as bribery and malpractices.
Mr Ang stressed that the idea, though appearing raw, could possibly trigger more ideas to eventually fine-tune a workable methodology of community endorsement that is uniquely Singaporean.