As the sun sets on Singapore, visitors to the island have been enjoying a few hours of sunny comfort from a new law passed on Monday.
The law, passed by Singapore’s National Council of Social Services (NCSS), makes it illegal for tourists to come ashore from other countries without the approval of a local government.
The bill was introduced in a bid to curb illegal tourism, with the aim of boosting tourism in the region and in the country as a whole.
The legislation also includes a raft of new restrictions, such as requiring that foreigners with valid tourist visas and visas issued in the past be approved for a tourist visa.
This will ensure that those with valid visas do not arrive on the island without their government’s approval, says a spokesman for the NCSS, Dr Shing Yee-pao.
The new law comes in the wake of a crackdown on illegal tourism on the country’s beaches and at other popular spots across the island.
Singapore has seen a huge surge in the number of tourists in recent years, especially from China, and this has seen the island’s tourism industry suffer.
Some of the new laws were implemented as part of a campaign to crack down on illegal activities, but also as a precautionary measure in case of a repeat of the wave of tourists that swept through the island in 2016 and 2017.
According to the government, the increase in tourism was driven in part by concerns that the government would lose the support of its overseas Chinese communities.
In 2016, the number was nearly 2 million, but this year it is expected to be closer to 3 million.
In addition to curbing the influx of tourists, the government has also sought to attract more foreign workers to Singapore, as well as bring more international tourists to the islands.
Some experts believe the new law will not help in the long term.
The government’s focus on tourism is largely a product of fear, they argue.
The fear of a return of the ‘foreign-style’ approach to immigration has led to an inability to bring the needed talent to the mainland.
So far, the measures have not resulted in the desired results, and have in fact only strengthened the existing problems, says Dr Singsong Wee, professor at Singapore Management University (SMU).
There is a growing feeling among Singaporeans that the only way to attract and retain talent is to focus on building the country.
This is why we are investing so much in infrastructure and the local tourism industry.
Dr Wee also points out that the law will have an adverse impact on the ability of Singapore to attract foreign talent, especially for those who are young and coming of age.
“For the young people, it is very difficult to find a job,” he says.
“The jobs are very expensive and very precarious.
There are many other factors, such a lack of social housing, a lack to travel overseas, not being able to work in their home countries.
So, it will only affect young people.
But for older people, the risk of not finding a job is greater.”
Some are sceptical of the measures that will come into effect.
“I am very concerned that it is an overly lenient approach,” says Singaporean Dr Ong Kiat Chuan.
“It is not the way to deal with the problem, as I think it will actually hurt the economy.”
In a country where most Singaporeans are Chinese, this is likely to be a big concern for Chinese nationals who are worried about losing their jobs, and even their homes.
The latest statistics show that there were more than 2.6 million Chinese citizens living in Singapore, of which more than 70% are Chinese.
In recent years the Chinese community has seen an increase in the numbers of expats in Singapore and the country has been experiencing a steady increase in foreign investment.
Many of these people are worried that the new legislation will not stop them from leaving the country and joining their families.
“There is no real sense of safety, especially with the growing number of expatriates coming to the country,” Dr Wee says.
Some Chinese families are leaving Singapore to move to Hong Kong or Australia, or even to the United States.
“Some of the Chinese who come here to work are also going to go to Australia,” he adds.
“So, there is a real fear that the laws will not do enough to stem the tide of expat migration.”
The bill will not only have a negative impact on foreign workers, but on the local economy as well.
According a recent report by the SMU’s research group, the new restrictions will have a “negative impact on Singapore’s competitiveness and economic health”.
In addition, many local businesses are still facing difficulties, as some tourists are only permitted to visit the island for a few days a year, rather than the long-term plan of a few months.
“We will need to see how this impacts the economy,” says Dr Wee.
“But it is something that will need