Speaking in Parliament that is debating Opposition tabled motions on free trade agreements, singling out the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India, Wong said with strict policies global companies would find it rough to operate in Singapore.
“If we were to take a politically craven approach and impose many stringent conditions on their ability to operate here, we will lose out on many good investments,” he told Parliament.
“We would have fewer foreigners for sure. But many Singaporeans will also be deprived of good jobs and career opportunities. It's like cutting off one's nose to spite one’s face,” he added.
The Opposition party has repeatedly highlighted the CECA with India as an example of how Singaporeans have lost out to foreigners, although that debate has been marred by an undercurrent of racism and xenophobia.
Wong called out the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) for its “fatally flawed” thinking that reducing the number of foreigners here will allow Singaporeans to automatically fill those jobs, and said locals will ultimately pay the price if overly restrictive policies lead to companies relocating elsewhere.
The data and evidence are clear that Singapore's economic policies have helped to raise living standards across the board and create many more good jobs for Singaporeans.
In a strongly worded speech, the minister censured the PSP (one of the Opposition parties) for the way in which it has framed its criticism of the Government's foreign talent policy.