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In 2006, the SDP had warned that “thesocial impact of the foreign recruitment policy may yet provedisastrous for Singaporeans.” (See here)$CUT$
We cautioned again when we wrote ouralternative population paper in 2013: “The population explosionwill cause further economic, social and psychological stress for thepeople, as well as add to national security implications. For thesake of a safe and secure Singapore, the Government must rethink itspopulation policy.” (See here)
While it is clear that the riot at Race CourseRoad on Sunday evening was carried out by the massivecongregation of foreign workers, what triggered the violence has yet to be determined.
But whatever the cause for the explosive anger,there is always the danger that overcrowding leads to stressfulsituations where human behaviour becomes increasingly agitated andirrational. Sunday night’s conflagration is justsuch a manifestation of the stressful situation that inhabitants inSingapore face.
While the perpetrators of the riot needto be dealt with firmly, the SDP cautions against tarring the entire foreign-workers’ community with the same brush. Singaporeans must focus on policies that create conditions that give rise tosuch volatility in the first place.
When such events take place, not only are our first responders and frontline uniformed personnel placed in dangerous situations, the general public is also put at risk. Having too big a population on this island with inadequate infrastructure and resources is a recipe for disaster.
The SDP repeats its stand: TheGovernment, while it determines the factors that gave rise to the riot, must also review its population and immigration policy toproduce sustainable growth and enhance the well-being of our people, including fostering an environment free of violence and rioting.
We stand ready to constructively contribute to this national debate with ouralternative policy: Building A People: Sound Policies For A SecureFuture.
Read also: The population debate: The optimal size