The Straits Times
Published on Feb 25, 2013

Population White Paper a proposal, not set in stone


MUCH was said and debated about the recent Population White Paper. The big crowd which gathered in protest at Speakers' Corner on Feb 16 seems to suggest that many Singaporeans are against it ("White Paper protest draws big crowd"; Feb 17).

One thing stands out as I sieve through the many opinions. Many people are assuming that the White Paper will be implemented by 2030. Far from it.

It is very clear to me that the Government is merely making plans. In the last election, it was accused of not anticipating the infrastructure needs of a higher population that came with a higher intake. So, it is trying to anticipate the infrastructure needs.

Singaporeans must take into account that the White Paper is merely a proposal. Even though it was passed by Parliament, it remains a proposal.

Now that the citizens have spoken, the Government should take heed and listen.

What do Singaporeans want? Their requests are simple: A good job for everyone, a safe place for their family and an equal opportunity to partake in the nation's growth. In fact, these are basic everyday needs. Not everyone craves the 5Cs.

If one looks at the Government's record for the past 48 years, one can see that it has mostly delivered on the above. The White Paper essentially conveys what the Government wants to do to satisfy the above and more.

What went wrong? The White Paper was communicated in a clinical and matter-of-fact attitude. It is lacking in the "heart ware". There is plenty of time yet to tweak it, and it should be done with Singaporeans' hearts in mind.

Sonny Yuen