Notice how the PAP-controlled media avoid highlighting salaries? The PAP and employers have always harp on manpower shortage and give flimsy excuses like “Singaporeans do not want to work in construction/service/retail/FnB sector”. They deliberately avoid talking about salary because they know they are paying peanuts, and their only defense is that cost of living will increases if salaries goes up. Such is the cheap foreign labor addiction that the PAP and employers are hooked on, and having them quit have serious withdrawal symptoms.
A functioning relationship between manpower and salary is one that varies invariantly, the common sense is simple, when there is a manpower shortage, increase salaries. The PAP have however complicate this sustainable formula and introduced a foreign worker quota. Salaries can go down further so long there is a looser foreign worker quota, and this is what is happening to our low income occupations – low income workers have their salaries stagnated for more than a decade [Source]; never mind how the PAP and NTUC trumpets about their “tripartite” system. Salaries should be a lot higher than what it is today and developed countries like Australia, UK and Japan are exemplary models that having high wages for the low income do not cause a spike in cost of living.
Over here in Singapore, we have a lot of cheap foreign labor, but our cost of living kept increasing. This is happening because of the influx of rich foreigners and the growing domestic demand resulted from an increase in population. As such, allowing employers to import more cheap foreign labor and allowing more foreign millionaires to stash their cash here will only result in higher cost of living. Implementing a generous Minimum Wage like Aussie’s $17/hr will compensate inflation for a better quality of life, whereas increasing the number of cheap labor worsens both the standard of living and inflation.
Paying cheap dollars for a manual work is also unethical. I won’t feel good knowing the person behind the counter serving me is living on $4 an hour and struggling with his finance. Neither do I feel better with banglah workers eating a pile of rice by the roadside even if it means cheaper housing for me. Having cheap foreign labor because our neighboring countries have cheaper labor is a rat race to the bottom, everybody will still be a rat even if you win the race.