MICA (P) 138/02/2010 Issue No: 1001
In the last few years, globalization has resulted in an
inux of foreigners living and working in developed
countries, in search of a better life. This has evoked hostile
reactions from local populations, who feel threatened by
changing demographics, job insecurity, or simply, fear of
the unfamiliar. In Western Europe, the local “push-back”
has become a political force in 2009, with right-wing
parties like the British National Party winning seats to the
European Parliament on the backs of manifestoes urging a
freeze on immigration and/or tightening up issues of work
/ study visas.
The effects of liberal foreigner policies are felt even more
starkly in a tiny place like Singapore.
Nobody can quarrel with the need to have foreign labour
to augment Singapore’s talent pool. We should not be
xenophobic, just as we expect to be treated with respect
should we decide to work in other countries. The issue is
really whether each and every one of the foreigners here is
adding value to Singapore, and the impact of such a liberal
policy on Singaporeans’ lives. This article does not purport
to give solutions, but to present certain facts for further
In Oct 2007, I led a question in Parliament to obtain a
snapshot of how the mix of Singapore citizens, Permanent
Residents and Non-Residents had changed from 1990.
Together with the latest statistics, the trends are as
Total Population by Residential Status for 1990, 2000
and 2009 (Mid-Year Estimates)1
1The gures have been rounded to the nearest 100, not necessarily
upwards. As a result of rounding, the sum of the individually rounded
gures may not be equal to the (rounded) total.
2Non-residents refer to non-citizens and non-permanent residents of
Singapore, who are working, studying or living here.
The following trends can be clearly seen:
• The Citizen group has been sharply declining as the
population increases, from 86% in 1990 to 64% in 2009.