SINGAPORE — Singapore's prime minister sought Sunday to ease concerns that the city-state is allowing in too many foreign workers who will undermine national unity.
The surge of foreigners living in Singapore has become a hot topic in the lead-up to the next general election, which the government must call by February 2012. Many of the newcomers are from China, India and other Asian countries.
"We will control the inflow, to ensure that it is not too fast and not too large," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during a speech ahead of Monday's National Day. "And we will make clear that citizens come first."
About 150,000 foreign workers have entered Singapore per year since 2007, and they now make up about a third of the island's 3 million work force and about a fourth of the total population of 5 million, up from 10 percent in 1990.