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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians." - Chester Bowles

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channelnewsasia.com - Local versus foreign talent debate one of top issues in REACH feedback in 2009

"In September 2009, the Prime Minister said the government will, over time, sharpen the differentiation between citizens, PRs and foreigners to reflect the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

The latest announcement from the Education Ministry is that it will put in place measures to differentiate between Singapore Citizens and PRs at the Primary One Registration Exercise from 2010 onwards.

And school fees payable by Singapore citizens, PRs and International Students will be further differentiated from 2011 onwards."


Making life hard for PRs and foreigners is not the same as enhancing the value of citizenship.

Beggaring thy neighbour is a losing proposition - while you screw non-citizens, the only advantage citizens have is arguably a feeling of relative privilege - or rather, the ability to cry, "Haha, sucker! I managed to get the same service at a lower price than you!". And possibly less competition for your kids for Primary One places.

The impact on the budget of charging non-citizens a few bucks more for school fees and healthcare is probably negligible, since they are still heavily subsidised, and it's peanuts compared to the cost of importing PRC scholars by the truckload. In any case, we run large surpluses every year, so it is doubly insignificant.

People are silly, with mercantilist, zero-sum mentalities, but even then these measures are and will be ineffectual in reducing public discontent.
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