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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has walked back the Government’s position on increasing Singapore’s population to 6.9 million by 2030.$CUT$
He announced in Parliament last week that the target was a “worst-case scenario” after a public furore ensued when the White Paper was released.
The Government will now stick to the 6 million target for 2020 and, thereafter, review the situation.
The problem is that even a population of 6 million for this island may be too high. The Government has not provided any convincing data that this island can hold so many inhabitants.
Why 6 million? Why not more? All the authorities need to do is to reclaim more land or clear more space like Bukit Brown or build 50-strorey HDB flats instead of 20-storey ones. We can squeeze in as many people as the planners desire.
The question is how will such an intense build up of our population affect the quality of life of Singaporeans?
Already, with the 5.3 million that we currently have, there are signs that all is not well. The lack of space and the stressful lifestyle have caused us to be one of the unhappiest peoples in the world, according to a recent worldwide study.
Real wages are down, working hours are up and productivity continues to languish. Property prices have become out of reach, public transport (especially the MRT system) is plagued by constant breakdowns, and COE prices remain exorbitant.
Public parks have become areas of mass gatherings and recreation – an important aspect of the promotion of physical as well as psychological health – has degenerated into another stressful activity.
All this has caused many Singaporeans to emigrate to other countries and, of those remaining, many question the meaning of the their citizenship.
Without addressing such problems and taking steps to remedy them, the Government is moving to increase the population to 6 million. This seems to be done with the main intention of expanding our GDP growth.
The assumption, of course, is that GDP growth will make us wealthier and wealth will improve our quality of life and, hence, happiness.
Is this the case? Will GDP growth improve our health and happiness? Is the GDP a good measure of our economic wellbeing in the first place? If not, what is the real point of bringing in foreigners to push up our population?
These are some of the hard questions that the SDP asks in our population and immigration policy paper titled Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future which we will launch tomorrow. More importantly, we will present a comprehensive plan which will prepare Singapore for a future where our progress will be holistic and where the wellbeing of our people come first.
So come join us for an important discussion that will provide Singapore an alternative and secure path forward.
Event: Launch of Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future
Date: 14 February 2013, Thursday
Place: Chinese Success Media Pte Ltd, 231 Bain Street, Bras Basah Complex, #04-41