ST Feb 13, 2009
Pro-S'porean policy in jobs, housing impractical
THE notion of a pro-Singaporean policy is noble but not practical. What many policymakers and many well-meaning citizens fail to recognise is that many Singaporeans are married to non-Singaporeans.
Non-Singaporeans may, for one reason or another, not be in a position to take up Singapore citizenship. This may be because they have elderly parents in their native country or they do not meet general requirements to take up citizenship.
As someone in this category, I find that this pro-Singaporean policy penalises this segment of the population. Over the years, we have contributed thousands of dollars to the Singapore economy, we pay taxes and levies and we have decided to setup of our family unit in Singapore. We have bought an HBD flat and look forward to being proud owners of a home in Singapore.
I am not in a position to take up citizenship, as it is my responsibility to take care of my parents in Malaysia. They have chosen their home and I cannot, in good conscience, force them to relocate here.
Imagine this. Our flat will be ready only in 2012. Of our two incomes, I earn more than my wife. My income pays for almost everything, including rent (which has increased astronomically). The cost of living has gone up, and even cooking at home is no cheaper then eating outside. Paying utility bills, insurance premiums, car loan, education loans and so on leaves us with just enough to make ends meet. In recent months, we have had to dip into our savings to pay for many things.
We used to consider ourselves slightly better off than middle class, but now we are not even in that category. If I lose my job, because I am not a Singaporean, where would that leave us?
Consider this as well. I pay goods and services tax (GST), income tax, Central Provident Fund (CPF) and every other payment as Singaporeans do, but I get few if any benefits. I do not get GST refunds; nor am I a beneficiary of any other monetary initiative to relieve the sufferings of Singaporeans, despite the fact that I am forming a family unit with a Singaporean in Singapore.
I don't follow the logic. I don't understand why Adrian Gopal cannot take up citizenship in Singapore just because he has parents in Malaysia. I'm sure that most foreigners who take up citizenship in Singapore also have parents in other countries.
Could it be that for as long as he's still in Singapore, Adrian just wants to enjoy the benefits of citizenship in Singapore, without actually taking up citizenship?
And then one day if it doesn't make sense for him to stay here any more, he can run back to Malaysia where he will enjoy the benefits of the Malaysian citizenship that he never gave up?