Taking care of Everyone
Like any other city, our ability to integrate will determine the pace of immigration. As a city state, our advantage lies in being able to control the type and pace of immigration. But unlike other cities, we don’t pass on the challenge of taking care of the economically inactive or economically less-productive to hinterland. We again don’t have that option.
We take care of all our people. We take care of all our people, regardless. And that is the fundamental basis of how we will organize our society going forward. –Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing
Question and Answer:
Moderator Yeoh Lam Keong, vice-president, ESS asked about what population size the Minister thought would suit Singapore.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said last year at the end of the debate on the Population White Paper that he expected the population in 2030 to be “significantly below 6.9 million”, while former chief planner Liu Thai Ker said Singapore should plan for a population of 10 million possibly by the year 2100, Mr. Yeoh noted.
Mr. Chan said “nobody knows” what Singapore’s population size would be.
With technological changes, the type and quality of housing would also change and the living environment we can build is open to possibilities, he said.
“Will it be 10 million? Will it be less or more? Nobody knows.”
Asked by Nanyang Technological University economics professor Ng Yew Kwang whether the Government could resist anti-immigration pressures, because immigration had “enormous advantages for Singaporeans”, Mr. Chan said there were economic, social and political considerations and much depended on how well immigrants could be integrated.
“What we hope to do is, first and foremost, not focus on numbers, but ask ourselves what are the opportunities we need to create for younger generation to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.”
He added that even as Singapore was slowing down the inflow of foreign labour, “we are clear in our mind, we can never compete on number”, (firstname.lastname@example.org)