The Straits Times
Published on Feb 05, 2013

Ensure S'pore in 2030 is a draw to overseas S'poreans


UNDERSTANDABLY, many Singaporeans have reacted with concern and anxiety over the Government's Population White Paper and its Land Use Plan.

While most residents feel a sense of disquiet at the prospect of living here with a 6.9 million population by 2030, there are others among the thousands of Singaporeans working and studying abroad who may have second thoughts about returning home.

Like the Government, it is our fervent wish as parents that our children come back to strengthen family ties as well as to contribute to the well-being of our country.

Alas, such a desire can be dashed if the environment is not conducive in terms of breathing space, living cost and employment opportunities.

Under such unfavourable circumstances, those currently living overseas for various reasons may put their plans to return on hold.

There are others like me, whose grandchildren will be in their 30s by 2030, who also treat the 6.9 million population as a worst-case scenario.

Likewise, we need to plan consciously and responsibly for our grandchildren's future to ensure that they have a good quality of life.

In other words, should we encourage them to go overseas for studies and employment, and let them decide if they should continue living there?

Unless the Government can ensure that Singapore is liveable in 2030, more Singaporeans will emigrate, while others abroad will stay away.

Hence, it is imperative that the population issue be studied and debated in depth, so that our children and grandchildren will not be subjected to hardship and unhappiness in future.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng