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The whole CECA, FTA saga is an obfuscation

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by Henry Tan

The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) grew to become efficient on 1 Aug 2005, and a Second Protocol amending sure elements got here into pressure on 14 Sept 2018.

The Second Protocol didn’t amend Chapter 9 on Movement of Natural Persons which pertains to Indian National coming into Singapore.

CECA got here into the highlight after an incident in 2019 involving an Indian man who was later discovered to have taken Singapore citizenship.

The incident provoked activists to organise an occasion at Hong Lim Park in November the identical 12 months that rode on common unhappiness over the Government’s plan to lift Singapore’s inhabitants to six.9 million and deteriorating employment for sure layers of society regardless of a rising financial system.

CECA then simmered till a couple of brief video clips surfaced on social media through the COVID-19 restrictions, exhibiting Indian-looking individuals receiving racial remarks.

The Law and Home Affairs minister believed that rumors about CECA had one thing to do with the racial displays, and challenged a Member of Parliament (MP) to desk a debate on CECA, which he did. The debate has been reported.

Unfortunately, this whole saga is an obfuscation.

If the Chapter 9 in CECA was already enshrined in 2005, why did the federal government not clarify that in 2019 when it first grew to become an challenge? In truth, it ought to have been defined earlier in 2005.

Neglecting this and withholding information have given foreign money to the cheap deduction that the massive inflow of Indian nationals may be related to CECA.

The MPs who raised this challenge outdoors or inside parliament are giving their constituency a voice for his or her unhappiness as they more and more encounter massive teams of Indian nationals.

Senior parliamentarians tried to confuse the difficulty by claiming that such acts have been simply stirring up rumours and inflicting hassle.

The saga was additional muddied by implying that not supporting CECA per se quantities to not supporting FTAs generally, or being xenophobic or nationalistic – none of that are actually true.

The identical unhappiness would have developed had CECA been made with one other nation.

This is an opinion piece from a member of the general public, and doesn’t mirror TOC’s place on any matter.

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