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The Straits Times seems to be walking back the PAP’s plan to jack up the population figure in Singapore to 6.5 million. A report written by Ms Rachel Lin pointed out that Dr Chee Soon Juan had raised this issue in the SDP’s video response to PM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day rally speech.
If the viewership is an indication of how concerned Singaporeans are over the matter – the video has registered a record-breaking 15,000 views in just one week – then the PAP had better sit up and listen very carefully: Singaporeans are already feeling the stresses of having 5.1 million people on this island and they are appalled that the number will go up to 6.5 million.
In her report, Ms Lin played down the controversy writing that the 6.5 million mark was not a target: “Mr Mah (Bow Tan) had stressed that the 6.5 million number is not a target that the Government feels Singapore’s population should reach. Instead, he characterised it as a ‘planning parameter’ – to guide future development blueprints in the URA’s Concept Plan.”
When you cannot convince, confuse.
Not a target but a planning parameter? And the parameter was to guide future development blueprints? What on earth is she talking about? Why have an infrastructutral blueprint for 6.5 million if you’re target is not 6.5 million?
The National Development Minister himself was very clear that 6.5 million was the target. Mr Mah posted an editorial on the PAP’s website and unambiguously entitled it “Why we need 6.5 million people”. It was not “Why we need 6.5 million people as a planning parameter”.
In the post, he asks: “How many more people can we accommodate?”
And then answers: “A recent review of our long-term land use and transportation plan concluded that we have enough land to cater to a population of 6.5 million, if we are creative and careful in using our limited land, if we plan for such growth now and if we invest in the necessary infrastructure.” (emphasis added)
Is this not clear enough?
If it is indeed not the Government’s plan to have the population reach 6.5 million then Mr Mah must, like his cabinet colleague Mr Ng Eng Hen who apologised and withdrew his statement about the weighting of Chinese language in school results, renounce his own statement.
Clearly, the PAP is sensing the backlash of this dangerous and highly contentious move and it is trying to contain the issue. Singaporeans are already feeling the stress of having nearly 2 million foreigners working and living in Singapore. Adding another 1.5 million people to this island without proper consultation and study is stunningly reckless.
The Singapore Democrats call on the Government to do the following:
One, state categorically and unambiguously – without mumbo-jumbo about “planning paramenters” and what not – that it will not increase Singapore’s population to 6.5 million.
Two, conduct transparent and open public hearings to solicit views from Singaporeans about the impact of current immigration levels on their lives and to reduce the 5.1 million figure if necessary.
Three, conduct comprehensive and sound research of the population sustainability level of Singapore.
If the PAP fails to do the above, one can only conclude that the party has every intention to inflate the population to 6.5 million. The SDP will continue to warn Singaporeans of the danger and the people will have their say at the coming elections.