NTU dons say disputed job data from MOM website

  Channel News Asia
July 31, 2003
By Walter Fernandez

Locals left in the lurch TODAY

HE Nanyang Technological University economists have stood firm on the job figures they put up, despite a high-level rebuke.

In a written statement, the academics said their figures were taken from the Manpower Ministry's own website.

The academics said that if their findings are not reflective of the actual situation, then the Manpower Ministry has the duty to revise the statistics it publishes on its own website.

They added that as professional economists they have never been sensational and will always be professional.

"Our figures are derived from public domain statistics. They appear in the website of the Ministry of Manpower. The statistics released by Minister Ng on 31 July 2003 are from sources we do not have access to," said Dr Chen Kang and Dr Tan Khee Giap in a statement on Thursday.

The statement came after Acting Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen earlier Thursday rebutted the NTU economists' remark that three out of four new jobs in Singapore were taken up by foreigners in the last five years.

"Out of four jobs created, only one job went to a Singapore resident, three jobs went to the intake of foreign workers," Professor Lim Chong Yah from the NTU's Nanyang Business School had said.

"The number of non-resident workforce is very large, runs over 700,000... the unemployment is only less than 90,000, then something is very wrong," Associate Professor Tan Khee Giap had said.

But Dr Ng said the academics were "way off the mark".

The real picture is very different: for every 10 jobs created, nine went to residents, and only one went to a foreigner.

"If your figures are wrong, it is irresponsible, unprofessional to put out those figures. In this particular case, the NTU report, their findings are way off the mark. I do not know how they got their figures and what their methods are," said Dr Ng.

He added the NTU academics had not consulted the Manpower Ministry or the Department of Statistics.

The MOM also said the academics over-estimated the increase in employment over the past five years.