Asia Sentinel, 2 Apr 2014
It appears counter-intuitive to suggest that a cosmopolitan hub like Singapore might have a problem with xenophobia.
Yet xenophobia has emerged as a major political concern in the city-state. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has routinely addressed the issue of immigration and foreign workers in his National Day Rally Speeches since 2009 — and in 2012 he openly warned Singaporeans to refrain from overt expressions of hostility towards foreigners.
The trigger for this new xenophobic fear was former Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng’s 2005 decision to engage in massively expanding the intake of foreign workers to avoid an anticipated recession. This directly led to the current situation where nearly 40 percent of Singapore’s residents are foreigners — many of whom have no interest in developing ties to the country or the opportunity even if they were interested.
The government confessed that it had failed to take any steps at all to provide infrastructural or social support for this influx of foreign workers. Full story