The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has accepted Law and Home Affairs minister K Shanmugam’s challenge to debate the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in Parliament.
“The 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,” said Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai in a Facebook post on Tuesday (22 June), referring to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).
Leong, who is a member of the PSP’s central executive committee, added that his party will seek “further information from the government” in Parliament next month in preparation for the debate, after which it will “decide on a suitable time to file a motion”.
“It will be then up to the Speaker’s discretion to confirm the date of the debate,” he added.
During a parliamentary session in May, Shanmugam issued a challenge to Leong to openly debate CECA.
“If anyone here believes that CECA is a problem, put it up for a motion debated openly, and let’s hear whether Singaporeans benefit or lose from it,” said Shanmugam.
“I’m looking at you, Leong,” he added. “I invite you to put up a motion to debate CECA. You know that most of what is said about CECA is false.”
Earlier during the session, Shanmugam also pointed to certain “parties” that have been deliberately stoking fears of foreigners as well as “encouraging racism and xenophobia” in Singapore, and warned that such actions were “dangerous”.
In his Facebook post on Tuesday, Leong said that the PSP believes Singapore is in need of rebalancing the interests of Singaporeans in relation to foreign PMETs in the job market. He noted the process could involve “the recouping of tens of thousands of jobs” from work pass holders through various measures.
While this would affect the number of PMETs in the Singapore workforce, it is a “necessary step” towards creating a “win-win situation for both Singaporeans and foreign nationals”, he added.
“The first step in achieving this is obtaining prompt and complete information so as to promote transparency and to eliminate prejudices. All of which is in the spirit against xenophobia and racism,” said Leong.