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Jo Teo Fail: Overwhelming Majority Singaporeans Want New Citizens to Pass English Test

78 percent of Singaporeans want an English test to be past of the application process for citizenship.

53 percent of those polled said that new citizenship applications should be rejected if they could not communicate in English.

In addition, 52 per cent of respondents said new citizens should at least be able to converse in English, while 41 per cent said they should be able to speak, read or write in English

The survey was conducted last month by CAN and Mediacorp-owned market research agency MRC.

Five hundred Singapore-born citizens aged between 18 and 69 were polled.

During the Committee of Supply debate in Feb, Leader of the Opposition Pritam called for an English test when assessing a person’s application for citizenship or permanent residency in Singapore.

He said that Singaporeans “do not want new citizens who don’t want to live here but only want the power of the Singapore passport for their convenience”.

The idea was shot down by Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo.

Teo expressed her misgivings about how much an English test would help, given that those inept in English are likely to be foreign spouses.

She added that while the Singapore authorities also consider an applicant’s ability to integrate in Singapore, they do not use a naturalisation test or interviews because “all tests have pitfalls”.

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