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Excerpts from MM Lee's speech:

"Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) receive very different treatment in government policies, and this distinction has sharpened further in recent months."

"...should the foreign worker tap be turned down too much, it could lead to a 'deflating economy'."

"(But) citizens receive numerous perks not available to these non-citizens."

"Foreign workers were needed for the building of the two integrated resorts, which will create more jobs for Singaporeans, draw tourists and boost the economy."

"Foreign workers also built housing and infrastructure projects like public transport, schools and hospitals all over Singapore. Without them, these projects could not have proceeded and our economy would slow down, to the detriment of Singaporeans."

"Without them, the two IRs would not be built, all the schools, buildings would not be there."

"So when you grumble about - Serangoon estate grumbles about the workers near the neighbourhood - please remember they're human beings. They come here to earn a living and do the heavy work for us. Without whom, you'll not be here."

"The crucial thing for any country is to make economic progress. Without economic progress, with no growth, you'll not be here tonight."

"Let me explain what happens when we make progress. HDB prices go up, private home (prices) go up, all asset prices go up. Everybody finds he owns something more valuable in the house, his shares are worth more and he can live a good life. Of course we have to put up with more crowded trains, more crowded buses, (but) it cannot be helped."

"Let me tell you what happens when we slow down too much. You get the reverse spiral. Low growth, maybe even zero growth. Last year we had minus two per cent. Prices go down, property prices go down, incomes go down, you can't refurbish your houses, no new lifts, no new SERS, no upgrading and the country goes down."

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