Saturday, 30 March 2013

Don't read the Singapore Newspapers!

Don't read the Singapore Newspapers. The real stories and truth are from unbiased eyes. See the story below from the Star !

Foreign workers, who were once getting red carpet treatment because they were prepared to work cheaper and longer hours, are facing tougher times. The doors will remain open but some of the old cordiality is missing.

FROM Filipino waiters to Indian executives, from Malaysian managers to Chinese salesgirls, their presence seems heading for at least a temporary decline.

Several converging factors are conspiring to bring this about.

The first is the fast changing politics. The new Singaporeans, young and middle-aged, are becoming more outspoken against poor policies.

Explaining the phenomenon, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his government now has to negotiate a “major change” to a different brand of politics.

“It’s a different generation, a different society…” Lee told an interviewer. “We have to work in a more open way. We have to accept more of the untidiness.”

In rising numbers, Singaporeans are demanding the authorities to cut back the number of arrivals and reduce Singapore’s over-crowdedness.

Many of the foreign workers, who make up a third of the work-force, are concerned about the proposed economic restructuring that is aimed at them, right at the heart of immigration.

Secondly, a weakening economy that may reduce employability and a third factor is the city’s high cost of living which is increasingly affecting these workers as well.

All this is not expected to affect the city’s long-term plan for a six million population by 2020 (currently 5.3 million).

However, the next few years could further cut their rate of arrivals.

“The six million target may at worse be delayed by a few years. The immediate concern of the People’s Action Party (PAP) is to win the election in 2016,” said a political analyst.

To achieve that, it is making short-term adjustments, he added.

The government has taken a more urgent tone since the new budget was announced last month. It has rolled out several important measures towards a “Singaporeans first” policy.

That means firstly, a reduction of excessive demand for foreigners in both the service and unskilled sectors.

Less-skilled: The impact was felt in this sector last year which saw a big reduction of new permits, affecting restaurants, retail, cleaning, etc.

Professionals: The Manpower Ministry announced two objectives that will affect them. One was to reduce discrimination in the hiring and promotion of locals.

Secondly, it wants to carefully screen the qualifications and credentials of imported professionals to ensure they are genuine.

There had been numerous complaints of fake degrees or false representations by under-skilled foreigners desperate to land a job here.

The Acting Minister of Manpower Tan Thuan Jin wants to stop the discriminatory practice by foreign managers who hire and promote workers from their own nationalities, bypassing Singaporeans.

He told Parliament recently that he and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam had met senior bankers and other executives urging them to hire, and give better opportunities, to more locals.

His ministry was investigating several cases of discriminations.

One “fairly prominent company” had its work pass privileges suspended after it advertised for workers of a certain nationality, he said.

When a new system of approving S-Passes, granted to mid-level executives, comes into effect in July, as many as 70,000 foreign workers are reportedly at risk “of not having their S Passes renewed when they expire”.

News reports said the new system stipulates that more experienced pass holders have to be employed at higher pay to continue working here.

Government officials said about 70,000 foreigners – or one in two S-Pass holders - will be affected by the new system.

All these moves could have a major impact on the foreign presence in Singapore, if it is seriously carried out.

Meanwhile, this trend coincides with a slight deterioration of the industrial climate involving lower-skilled foreign workers, particularly Chinese mainlanders.

Since last November’s major bus drivers’ strike, there has been a number of smaller scattered actions by Chinese workers demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

The latest case involved private bus operators in which a number of Chinese drivers had taken individual action to demand equal pay with their Singaporean colleagues.

According to the New Paper, they showed up late “well after their morning shift had ended” or simply failed to show up for work.

Their action is not getting much sympathy from the Singapore public, which is generally happy to see a reduction of foreign workers.

A recent government survey showed that nine out of 10 Singaporeans support measures to tighten the inflow.

Other surveys revealed that the majority of people would prefer to settle for slower economic growth in return for a smaller population.

The impact could soon be felt in the labour front. Some small and medium size companies, desperate for workers, have said they may close.

The National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has just announced that new projects may take longer to complete – 32 to 43 months instead of the usual 30 months.

This revelation hardly stirred any reaction among the public, an indication that Singaporeans are prepared to accept the price for fewer foreign arrivals.

Friday, 1 March 2013

New Car Loan & ARF regulations - Reactions

New Car Loan & ARF regulations - Reactions

The MAS has just recently introduced new car loan restrictions, 50-60% limit on car loans with max loan tenure of 5 years. As well as high ARFs for more expensive cars. What has been the reaction on the ground?

Newly wedded couple Mr and Mrs Ting were sorely disappointed, "We were looking at a normal size car to allow us to drive to work and not have to squeeze in the over-crowded MRT and buses. With the large downpayment buying a car is out of our league. I guess I would have to enjoy, oops I mean tolerate being molested by all the Banglas on the train." exasperated Mr Ting.

We also managed to interview Mr Jian Chen from China, who kindly put down his Vertu handphone to talk to us. We found out that he was a provincal official in some obsure part of China, living it large in Singapore. We asked if the ARF would affect his car buying decision making. "Mei Wun Ti! Mei Wun Ti! Wo can afford luxury MerzBenzt ah, just siphon more public money only, sure can pay!"

Car dealers however were more worried and concerned, Mdm Buay Bac-side lamented,"Aiyoh, you know now with all these measures, less people will buy cars, I cannot make enough commission to upkeep my lifestyle. The new Birkin bag is coming out! How to afford!"

It seems that the only people thrilled by the prospects of the new car measures were un-licensed money lenders. Mr Tau Yi-Long exuded excitedly, " I tell you har, I luv this goverman! When they build two new casinos in Singapore, my business go up 30%. Now with these new car measures, I offer blidging rloan to pay the down payment, my profits sure sky rocket one! The goverman is like the Big Brother of loan sharks, oops I mean money lender. They so steady-pom pee pee. I have the group photo of the goverman ministers on my altar and every morning I burn three joss sticks for them. You know like Guan Gong!"