I READ with interest reports in the press on the possibility of new immigrants undergoing citizenship tests.
Member of Parliament Halimah Yacob had raised the idea of having a test and Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan had called it an "interesting and quite sensible suggestion".
I welcome the prospect that the Government would seriously consider the idea.
Singapore needs a diverse range of talent to speed up its economic development and contribute to the country's efforts in becoming a global business and tourism hub.
Selecting the right people to contribute to Singapore's success is the responsibility of policymakers.
It is vital that Singapore devises stringent selection criteria and a test to ensure that the right people are picked to become citizens.
It could draw lessons from countries such as the United States, Britain and Australia, which require prospective citizens to take a test.
As I mentioned in this paper before, the authorities could make it mandatory for prospective citizens to commit to a lengthy period of community service.
This would be a test of their loyalty to the country they want to be part of, and would also help them understand the community better.
It would also boost their efforts to immerse and integrate themselves in the local community.
Those who are not interested would naturally drop out of the running for citizenship.
Only with committed and passionate potential citizens can Singapore's future be assured.
Also, only then will the country's competitiveness be enhanced and interaction between new citizens and older citizens be smooth.
MR TEO KUEH LIANG
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