Foreigner influx: A matter of too many, too fast
I AGREE with Mr Richard Howe that citizenship does not necessarily equate with loyalty ("Wrong to equate citizenship with loyalty"; Feb 16).
Mr Howe mentioned Singaporeans who hold permanent resident (PR) status in Australia, so that they can move there if things get tough here. This is a global phenomenon that does not apply solely to Singaporeans.
I also agree that PR status should not be handed out to all comers; it should be earned through hard work and loyalty.
Singapore has experienced a huge influx of people, particularly in the past 10 years or so. Our population has surged from four million in 2000 to 5.3 million last year. As our citizen growth rate has remained relatively low, the proportion of PRs and foreigners has increased.
My main concern is that the foreigner influx has been too many, too fast. Even the Prime Minister has admitted that the Government lacked foresight in tackling the problems that came with the surging population ("PM throws light on what led to infrastructure strain"; Jan 29).
This problem is reflected in many areas such as housing, transportation, education and health care. Time is needed to build housing, expand the transport network, and increase and improve infrastructure such as schools and health-care facilities. Time is also needed for the foreigners to integrate into our society, and for us to accept them.
The lack of communication and transparency in policymaking has caused the ruling party dearly in recent elections.
Singaporeans today are bolder than ever in expressing their views and concerns, as evidenced by the many who turned up on Feb 16 at Speakers' Corner to protest against the Population White Paper ("White Paper protest draws big crowd"; Feb 17).
We cannot blame people for being sceptical about the White Paper, as many issues were not addressed in detail.
I do not believe Singaporeans are xenophobic. They are not advocating a closed-door policy, but rather a review and fine-tuning of the rate of foreigner influx to a more acceptable pace.
It is understandable that many questions and concerns were raised over how to preserve the Singaporean core in 2030, when we are already struggling to do so today.
Matthew Wong Yew Long