The Potential Impact of the Little India Riots on SMEs
There is no escaping, there will be economic and social consequences. You don’t need to be very smart to see the potential implications, small, medium or big.
In the short term, the businesses in the immediate proximity of the incident will lose some traffic. In the first 24 hours there was a reported 30% drop. This situation will ease out.
My 3 Socio-economic Consequences:
1. Migrant Fatigue
Singaporeans are generally very patient people, however they have shown signs of migrant fatique. If this continues unabated, this might pressure the government to act very tough.
If migrant fatigue exacerbates, local SMEs will suffer from shortage of foreign labour.
2. Tightening of Admission Regulations
Speculatively, the government might tighten up admission requirement for migrant workers from the Indian sub continent, if you recall the SBS bus strike issue. SMEs may face depleted pool of migrant workers if most prefer to seek out opportunities in the Middle East.
3. Reactive Response
I was delighted to know the PM has ordered an enquiry. If the issue is resolved humanely, however, if it is resolved from a reactive law enforcement standpoint, things may get tricky.
Either way, SMEs and locals will face cost undercurrents down the line.
The Need for Serendipity
We are at a crossroads. I trust reason will prevail. If you seek my viewpoint, I would say lets turn this weekend ‘s pitfall into a windfall for every stakeholder. We can do that by building bridges, not barriers. If we can resolve the root causes, of the issue, everyone wins.
Alternatively, if we fail to look deeper, we end up burning bridges and this could further antagonise or both sides. My hope is that this issue allows us to look into migrant worker issues. My feel is integration will is better than alienation. Easier said than done, though!
As a proud former first responder here in Singapore, I applaud and salute the courage of the uniform officers. From the bottom of my heart, I know how well trained and professional they are. If this was any other country, there would have been shot fired at the rioters.
Having lived and worked in many parts of the world, there is nobody I will trust more than the men and women in the uniform in Singapore. They are absolutely the best of the breed. That view is unshakable! Long live Home Team!
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Gideon F. For-mukwai