When questioned why Singapore is unable to reduce the number of cheap foreign labour, Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing pointed his fingers at the Singaporean citizens blaming them for not wanting to be construction workers:
“Is Singapore prepared to have 2,500 babies born here every year grow up to be construction workers? Do you think you’ll be recruiting, at every cohort of Singaporean babies, about 6 to 8 per cent of them into the construction industry? I think realistically, our Singaporean children do not want to be construction workers. Singapore cannot cut down on foreign workers the way some other countries have because of its small size and lack of natural resources.”
The former army general-turned-PAP minister then added, saying letting more Singaporeans be construction workers will cost the government more money and the projects will take longer to complete like “many other countries”. Minister Chan Chun Sing refused to specify which country is he referring to:
“In many other countries, a proportion of local workers is allocated to the construction industry. This leads to these workers becoming more expensive, and in other cases, projects take much longer to complete due to the lack of manpower.”
Minister Chan Chun Sing also claimed that without ample cheap foreign labour, Singapore will not be as successful economically today.
In the interview, Chan Chun Sing said Singapore is heavily dependent on other countries for natural resources and the country cannot have its own production line:
“We can’t manufacture face masks because Singapore do not have sheep to produce cotton.”
The army general did not know cotton comes from cotton plants, not the animal sheep.