Let Singapore emigrants hold dual citizenship, says Chin Hua
 
The Straits Times | Jan 31, 1990



SOME Singaporeans who emigrate should be allowed to hold dual citizenship, a Member of Parliament, Mr Peh Chin Hua, has suggested.

"With the change in the immigration policy to cater to Hongkongers, the Government should consider allowing Singapore emigrants to apply for dual citizenship under certain conditions," said Mr Peh, an MP for Jalan Besar GRC.

Writing in the latest issue of Petir, the official publication of the People's Action Party, he urged the Government to:

RESTORE citizenship to Singaporeans who have emigrated, provided they completed national service or had returned for reservist training.
ISSUE five-year temporary residence to those who have not done national service but have made special contributions to the country. They should be given Permanent Resident status if their children serve national service.
GRANT "senior residentship" to elderly emigrants who want to retire here, provided they can support themselves financially.
GIVE three- to six-month social visit visas to emigrants, provided they did not break any Singapore law or "mar the reputation of the country".

By adopting an "outward-looking" strategy, he reasoned, the Government would encourage emigrants to promote Singapore as a trade and investment centre.

Most emigrants were professionals and successful people and many were also well-placed to help Singapore's offshore companies make good.

"I feel that most overseas Singaporeans, whether they are studying or working, or have in fact emigrated, still have a strong attachment for Singapore.

"They are still concerned about the political situation, the economic development and the general affairs in the country," he added. To encourage emigrants to return, feel a sense of belonging or act as Singapore's ambassadors abroad, he suggested that the Government set up schools in countries with large numbers of Singaporeans.

"This will enable their children to have the kind of education that will help them on their return home," he said.

The Government should also keep in touch with Singapore clubs abroad.

Singapore's overseas missions could help them foster ties with home and develop a sense of national identity among them. He welcomed Singapore Airlines' special reunion packages, which give discounted rates to emigrants and Singaporeans staying or studying abroad, to return here for the 25th anniversary celebrations.
The year-long package, called Singapore Reunion '90, includes a return air ticket, hotel accommodation and sightseeing and shopping concessions.