Government will ensure growth remains inclusive, even as Singapore welcomes talent and investments: DPM Lawrence Wong
SINGAPORE: Even as Singapore opens its door to more foreign talents and investments, the Government will ensure that growth remains inclusive, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Wednesday (Aug 31).
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced a new work pass, which will allow high-earners and high-achievers to live in Singapore without having to secure a job here first.
Speaking in an interview on Channel 5’s News Tonight, Mr Wong said while it is an existential for Singapore to remain open, the benefits of being a global city must also be shared across all segments of society.
“We will, at the same time, have to do more to assure Singaporeans that even as we welcome talent and investments into Singapore, we will always ensure that growth remains inclusive,” said Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister.
This includes regulating the flow of foreigners into Singapore and ensuring that they complement Singaporeans at the workplace.
Mr Wong said efforts to integrate foreigners especially at the workplace must also be strengthened to help them understand Singapore's values and way of life.
At the same time, Singaporeans must also embrace foreigners who are contributing to Singapore, he said.
Highlighting the tremendous contributions made by migrant workers as well as the challenges they faced during the pandemic, Mr Wong said: “If we look at things from their perspective and how much sacrifices and contributions they have made, hopefully, Singaporeans ourselves will be big-hearted and will embrace them because they are making important contributions to us as well.”
During the wide-ranging interview, Mr Wong also spoke about the need to strengthen the sense of cohesion and solidarity among Singaporeans.
“Fault lines exist and we take them very seriously because we can see in other places how race, religion, and identity become entrenched as fundamental ideologies,” he said, adding that can result in societies becoming more divided and polarised.
“We have not reached that stage and we are not like that yet in Singapore, and I hope we will never get there.”
“That's the whole reason why we must continue to focus on the common ground that we have,” he added.
Turning to the changing geopolitical situation, Mr Wong called for Singaporeans to be more vigilant and united against foreign influence, as the country’s sovereignty and the Government’s ability to do what is right for its people are at stake.
“In a more contested geopolitical space, we must expect external actors to conduct influence operations around the world and in Singapore,” he said.
“They will try to push out their views in our community and shape public opinion in the hope that public opinion, in turn, will nudge and influence the government to adopt certain positions.”
“If that were to happen, it basically means that the government will not be able to act in the interests of Singapore and Singaporeans, because we will end up acting in the interest of other countries,” said Mr Wong.