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The Government’s population White Paper,
A Sustainable Population For A Dynamic Singapore, announced its intention to raise the population to 7 million. This is extremely worrying. The reasons for the new target have been offered before and appear to be re-packaged for the White Paper.$CUT$
The Government cites three pillars on which its policy rests: (1) maintain a strong Singaporean core, (2) create good jobs for Singaporeans, and (3) provide Singaporeans a higher quality of life.
These pillars were used to defend its policy of increasing the population to the current level of 5.3 million. The results have been unsuccessful.
A strong Singaporean core
According to the World Bank, in 2010 the emigrant population in Singapore was 6.1 percent of the total population of about 5 million people which is about 10 percent of native-born Singaporeans. Skilled tertiary-educated Singaporeans were leaving at a rate of 15.2 percent. The figure was higher for medical doctors at 15.5 percent.
A survey conducted by Mindshare in 2012 found that 56 percent of the 2,000 Singaporeans polled agreed or strongly agreed that, “given a choice, I would like to migrate”. Between 2000 and 2010, an average of 1,000 Singaporeans renounced their citizenship every year.
The PAP’s population policy has not succeeded in maintaining a strong Singaporean core with the current population mix of 38 percent foreigners in our population. Achieving this objective by increasing the population to 7 million with nearly 50 percent made up of foreigners is unlikely to be successful.
Creating good jobs
The second reason of creating good jobs is not convincing. According to a survey conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO), Singaporeans work the longest hours among 12 countries surveyed. The same study reported that at the same time our real incomes have declined.
Singaporean workers are one of the unhappiest in the world. In a survey of 14 economies, Singaporean workers were found to enjoy going to work the least, are the least loyal to their employers and have the least supportive workplaces. Only 19 percent of those polled look forward to their work each day; the global average is 30 percent.
Higher quality of life
The Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of Singaporeans workers is one of the weakest. A UBS survey showed that Singaporeans’ PPP was 39.9 compared to Zurich (106.9), Sydney (95.9), Luxembourg (95.4), Tokyo (82.2), Auckland (68.9), Taipei (58.9), Hong Kong (58.1) and Seoul (57.4).
According to a worldwide Gallup poll, Singaporeans were found to be the unhappiest people. We were even unhappier than Iraqis, Afghans and Haitians. In the Happy Planet Index, we polled a dismal 90th out of 151 countries surveyed.
There are no justifiable reasons for the PAP to raise the population by such a large number in such a short span of time. The population explosion will cause further economic, social and psychological stress for the people, as well as add to national security implications.
For the sake of a safe and secure Singapore, the Government must rethink its population policy. There are alternative measures which can achieve prosperity and happiness without resorting to such an unsustainable programme. The SDP will offer these alternatives in a population and immigration paper which will be released in the near future.