What is wrong with employing foreigners in top positions?

There is an article in the TRE titled, ‘Good work by old guards being dismantled by LHL’ by a contributor calling himself ‘Disillusioned with current PAP’. The gist of his post is that too many foreigners are taking over top jobs in Singapore instead of Singaporeans. And he listed the following:

(1) Magnus Bocker, CEO of SGX
(2) Singapore Botanic Gardens hired Briton Dr Nigel Taylor as its director sidelining our locals
(3) Singpost is now headed by an Austrian, Dr. Wolfgang Bier, as its Group Chief Executive Officer since Oct 2011.
(4) Simon Israel holds position of Executive Director at our very own Temasek Holdings while Greg Curt holds position of President.
(5) The infamous former CEO of our national transport network, SMRT, was Malaysian Saw Phaik Hwa who mismanaged our train network.
(6) Mr Steve Leonard is the executive Deputy Chairman of IDA Singapore
(7) Stephen Forshaw, managing director at Temasek Holdings

The author also quoted LKY and saying ‘I may not necessary agree with everything LKY did but there is one thing I respect him – he put the interests of Singaporeans first.’ Many Singaporeans respected LKY for the things he did to improve their lives and the large turnout and outpouring of grief during his funeral were testimonies to this.
But what is wrong with employing foreigners to these top jobs? I study them closely, I even meditated on them to try to find faults with the govt for employing these foreigners to these multimillion dollar jobs. The only problem I could find is that he missed out on those given a pink IC so not counted. They are now Singaporeans. And I think a few of the abovementioned could also have been given pink ICs. I am just guessing but this is not an issue. Tharman was quoted to have said that this is a good way to offer good jobs to ‘Singaporeans’ by bringing in foreign talent and made them instant citizens. The people cannot complain that they are foreigners anymore.

To me the most important point is whether the govt can find Singaporeans, I mean true blue Singaporeans, not the instant tree type, to take over these extraordinary and very difficult jobs. When I look at the jobs involved, I must agree that no Singaporean is good enough to fill these positions.

As they said, the proof is in eating the pudding. Look at the new replacement for SMRT and tell me if there is any improvement in the train services vis a vis the foreign talent Saw Phaik Hwa. Then look at the CEO of SGX. The moment they announced that Bocker is stepping down, they headed straight to the world to look for a replacement. Obviously they must have looked in house and all over Singapore and could not find any Singaporean suitable for the job. Oops, sorry, my mistake again. There is only one Singaporean that can fill the SGX job. He is the only talented Singaporean that can fill any banking and finance position, the only Singaporean talent in banking and finance, but he is already the CEO of DBS. And he is very happy there, so no point moving him to SGX.

After thinking about this for many days, I also come to the conclusion that the Singaporeans do not have the skills set for these jobs. So it is right that these jobs must go to foreigners. I think the govt is starting to think, and starting to plan also, to train Singaporeans to fill these positions, according to Leo Yip, the MD of EDB. So maybe in another 30 years we may have some Singaporeans trained and with the skills set to fill these positions.

So, for the next 30 years, these positions must be filled by foreign talents. No choice lah. But they can also be filled by Singaporeans if the govt gives the pink IC to the foreigners offered these jobs. Instant Singaporean also Singaporean what? Not to worry, our govt is very far sighted and always plan ahead, they said this is called proactive, always thinking ahead. Nevermind if they don’t think for the present. Now they have a 30 year plan to fill these positions with Singaporeans. Got hope, got hope for true blue Singaporeans, in 30 years time.

I feel so comforted. Our govt is planning ahead. We are in good hands. Our future is in good hands. No need to worry. No need to kpkb for now. In 30 years time, if it is still like that, then you can complain. Must look at the long term.


Anonymous said...

Did Singaporeans vote for PAP?
Did PAP create good jobs for Aliens?
Do CEO Aliens create PMET jobs for other aliens?
Do Singaporean PMETs become unemployed as a result?

Does voting Opposition solve this vicious unemployment cycle for Singaporeans?

Virgo 49 said...

Thirty years time just like the Big Con fortune teller who gave you a time frame of thirty years when he knows that by that time, you be old, feeble with dementia and already dead to remember what he told you now.

Anonymous said...

To Virgo;

30 years later, either the fortune teller or his client dies or both will be dead.

For a cointry, 30 years is a flash, 300 yrs is short.

Can Singapore last the next 30 yrs ?

Anonymous said...

Management guru Peter F Drucker said: Long range planning does not deal with future decisions but with the future of present decisions.

Our successful family planning programme was amended with no visible results, for example.

Our 2030 PWP is still in progress.

Anonymous said...

Long range planning.
I am 21 years old.
I am not from a rich family.
I need to work past the age of 35 years old.
Who will give me a better chance for long term employment?

Pro Alien Policies or Pro Singaporean policies?
PAP or Opposition political parties?

Anonymous said...

Looking and experiencing our public transport system, I think they must be joking when they claimed that there were marked improvements.

Train breakdowns have been the norm rather than the exception. Buses are even worse. Many a time I have waited far longer than the claimed regularity, and then two buses of the same service number arrived following one another nose to back.

With all the monetary assistance given out to operators, the only improvements I can see are just all fairy tales that cannot be taken as reality.

Anonymous said...

Instant Singaporean also Singaporean what?

101% tiok. If not ah, it will be extinct Singaporeans. And that's even worse, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

"The moment they announced that Bocker is stepping down, they headed straight to the world to look for a replacement. Obviously they must have looked in house and all over Singapore and could not find any Singaporean suitable for the job."

Of course lah. Which talent pool is bigger, Singapore or the world, and so better chance of finding best talent, u tell me lah?

Anonymous said...

Tiok, whose hole in the backside is bigger?

Anonymous said...

Hi RB, this is what we called meritocracy. Employing the talented to fill the top positions is understandable if the people chosen are of top quality. There is nothing wrong in that. However, just recruiting these people just because they are foreigners is not truly meritocracy. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so if they perform well in their jobs, then why not? Life is fair, those who are more capable get the reward. Just to fill top positions with Singaporeans who are not suited for the tasks is not the way realistic either. Your government is made up of talented MPs and the government machinery runs like a well oiled clock, although many would dispute that. Well, this is just my 2 cents worth.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

By putting the NATIONAL INTEREST first, the best people for the job are usually the one's hired. Like every process, sometimes the 'wrong" person gets hired, but usually in top positions the competition is keen, often neck to neck.

Generally speaking, the salaried Singaporean manager is a kiasu type, or they work for some govt stat board and shake legs. The best local managerial talent is usually running their own enterprise in the PRIVATE SECTOR---who the fuck wants to work for a boss and make them money whilst drawing a (fixed) salary?

There is nothing wrong in employing ANYONE if they can do the job better than anyone vetted by the selection process. The world doesn't owe anyone a living, and the govt's job is to get the "best" talent, not be beholden to employing TOKEN LOCALS just so everyone can "feel good".

You want meritocracy or democracy? I don't like nor do I trust democracy. But I rather enjoy "the game" of meritocracy. ;-)

It's a game lah. Why so serious? Get your game face on and PLAY lah. Who knows, maybe one day you can win.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for a few more ministers or even the PM to be replaced by more talented foreigners.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...


Sorry, I dun think it can be done. Ministers are elected by the people. The people get the govt they deserve. :-)

Virgo49 said...

Not necessary, Malaysia appointed senate ministers by the cabinet

So sin can do the same

Anonymous said...

@ April 20, 2015 11:40 am

"Just to fill top positions with Singaporeans who are not suited for the tasks is not the way realistic either."

So what are you saying?
Are you saying we should employ an Alien to run Temasek because our Singaporean Ho Ching is not up to the task?