Go for 5.9 million instead of 6.9 million: Workers' Party

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.

She 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.

The core of Singapore's population must be strongly Singaporean, cultivated over time through schools, national and community service, she stressed.

Compensating 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.

Lim also advocated prioritising citizenship to those who marry Singaporeans as they will be the parents of the children who will make Singapore's future.

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.

If the 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

Other 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.

Foo 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.

Seah 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."

Related Articles:

Govt clarifies population projections
COMMENT: Look again at babies policy
DPM Teo pushes for support of population paper
Straight to work for new MP Lee Li Lian

  • 2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America 5 hours ago
    2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America

    For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.

  • Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van 8 hours ago
    Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van

    “Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.” No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.

  • Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV 13 hours ago
    Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV

    Automakers worldwide have gradually (some would say grudgingly) attempted to make their high-profit and highly popular SUVs as efficient and clean-running as their lower weight passenger cars — namely through the grafting of a plug-in hybrid system.

  • Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report
    Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report

    Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company aims to announce its new product by the end of June and ship to customers by the end of September in time for the holidays, the Journal said in a Friday report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Amazon, it said, hopes to differentiate its phone from other models with a screen that displays hologram-like three-dimensional images, which can be viewed without special glasses. Earlier this month the retailer unveiled a new media streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, which it touted as simplifying the experience of watching video online.

  • Malaysia flight's co-pilot tried to make cellphone call - report
    Malaysia flight's co-pilot tried to make cellphone call - report

    Investigators probing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 suspect that the co-pilot of the jetliner tried to make a call with his cellphone after the plane was diverted from its scheduled route, Malaysia's New Straits Times reported sources as saying on Saturday. The newspaper cited unidentified investigative sources as saying the attempted call from co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's phone was picked up by a cellphone tower as the plane was about 200 nautical miles northwest of the west coast state of Penang.