Go for 5.9 instead of 6.9 million: Workers' Party
Yahoo! Newsroom – 43 minutes ago
The Workers' Party proposed Monday that Singapore prepare for 5.9
million instead of 6.9 million as detailed in the government's
recently-released population white paper.
The document sparked
fury among Singaporeans online as in it the government projected that
the city-state's population by 2030 could be 6.9 million, of which
nearly half would be foreigners.
After the paper was presented by
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean to Parliament for endorsement
Monday, WP chairman Sylvia Lim in Parliament stood up to explain the
party's objection to it, arguing that the proposed population policies
outlined would further dilute Singapore's national identity.
noted that the 3.7 million Singaporeans expected to make up the
population in 2030 would include new citizens, meaning home-grown
citizens would make up less than half the total of people.
core of Singapore's population must be strongly Singaporean, cultivated
over time through schools, national and community service, she stressed.
Singapore's low total fertility rate with new young citizens is a
flawed policy, she asserted, as new citizens also view Singapore with a
different lens, and should circumstances change, not find it difficult
to leave the country.
Echoing the recommendation that other
groups have made, Lim said the government should focus on improving the
total fertility rate.
Government seemed resigned about not being
able to raise the TFR though other countries like South Korea have dealt
with it though structured institutional reform, she noted.
also advocated prioritising citizenship to those who marry Singaporeans
as they will be the parents of the children who will make Singapore's
As an alternative to government's white paper, Lim
offered this approach: work towards a more moderate GDP growth of 1.5
per cent to 2.5 percent, cut population injections and grow the resident
workforce by 1 per cent yearly by tapping on seniors.
government continues to aim for GDP growth faster than that, the WP
fears that "the welfare of Singaporeans will be at peril".
MPs weigh in on population issue
MPs also broached the population issue in Parliament, with some
suggesting more creative ways of increasing the workforce without also
inviting more foreigners.
MP Foo Mee Har proposed “breakthrough
ideas” which she hoped that the government would consider to reduce the
need for excessive immigration.
Citing statistics of almost
12,000 abortions conducted in Singapore each year, she suggested that
the government should step up counseling services with the aim to get
women to reconsider their decision to terminate pregnancy.
also suggested that the government tap into older workers to supplement
Singapore’s workforce – as well as women who stay at home.
Marine Parade MP Seah Kian Peng spoke out strongly against the population projection.
"Singapore is already so crowded. Foreigners will take some of our jobs. Do we really want to keep going?" he said.
also raised concerns that the country's infrastructure, especially its
transport system, may not be able to support an influx of foreigners,
and recommended that the ratio of citizen versus foreigner remain as it
is now, and not almost 1:1 as the White Paper projects.
"It's not just more of us, is it? Not more of our own children, but more people, more strangers living in our midst."