Are Singaporean workers really losing jobs to Indian expats due to Ceca free-trade deal?

a group of people jumping in the air: Office workers in Singapore. Photo: Reuters

Office workers in Singapore. Photo: Reuters

As Singapore’s economy slows amid the coronavirus pandemic and job losses mount, people’s anxieties over their livelihoods have found a convenient target: a free-trade agreement Singapore signed with India in 2005. On social media, the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ceca) is being blamed for willy-nilly letting Indian nationals into Singapore to steal jobs from locals – no matter how many times the government says it is not true.

On a Facebook post of a news article explaining that Ceca did not give Indians automatic access to citizenship, permanent residency or employment, Stephanie Low commented: “Our jobs are taken by Ceca! Wait till the ministers’ jobs are also taken by them, then they will know!”

Others, like Emran Rahman, disparagingly referred to Indians as Ceca, saying: “Everywhere CECA! Even housing estates have them around!”

On the public group SG Opposition, Michael da Silva said

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