Important for political parties to achieve common ground on the fundamentals vital to Singapore: Ong Ye Kung
SINGAPORE: It is important that political parties achieve common ground on the fundamentals vital to Singapore, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Sunday (Jul 11).
Mr Ong was reflecting on "two good days of robust debate" in Parliament earlier this week, on topics such as Singapore's Ethnic Integration Policy and the importance of free trade agreements (FTAs).
On Tuesday, PSP Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai had raised questions on Singapore’s foreign worker policies, saying he was concerned about the “price” Singapore was paying for FTAs.
Mr Leong had earlier written a social media post, which said that “most important economic policies that have affected the jobs and livelihoods of Singaporeans relate to Foreign PMETs and Free Trade Agreements, in particular the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India”.
Mr Ong argued on Tuesday that these statements were false and that FTAs are critical to Singapore’s economic survival, with the network of FTAs being “a major selling point” for investors looking to do business in Singapore.
"It is a shame that PSP colleagues, after listening to the facts, would only say that they will study the matter further, and refused to withdraw their wrongful allegations about CECA," said Mr Ong in Sunday's Facebook post.
READ: FTAs don't give 'unfettered access' to Singapore's labour market; policies must benefit Singaporeans: Tan See Leng
"Nonetheless, I take comfort that Mr Pritam Singh accepted our corrections of the falsehoods about CECA," he added.
"We don’t have to disagree for the sake of disagreeing. In fact, between parties, it is very important to achieve common ground on the fundamentals, that are vital to Singapore," said Mr Ong.
READ: Ethnic integration housing policy ‘necessary’ for harmony, says Desmond Lee as MPs debate need for racial policies
He said he was sure there would be different views when it came to the methods employed, whether they were to help home owners affected by EIP or cushion the impact of globalisation on Singapore's PMEs.
However, the "fundamentals that keep Singapore stable and successful" should not be "in doubt, and not shaken".
"If we can sustain this sort of politics in Singapore, we can be confident that better days are still ahead," said Mr Ong.