S'poreans must understand issues behind Population White Paper

It is too simplistic to talk about what the ideal population for Singapore is ("The Population White Paper - Time to revisit an unpopular policy?"; Jan 9).

Naturally, all of us would rather not live on an overcrowded island or have our jobs taken by foreigners.

The issue is not about numbers. It is about sustaining economic growth, maintaining a high standard of living and keeping Singapore at the top of the economic food chain.

We do not have oil or wealth in the ground. We need people to generate economic wealth.

We do not want to be overwhelmed by foreigners. But if we send all the foreign workers away today, Singapore will come to a standstill.

This is a complex problem and has to be discussed in all its aspects and in depth.

We should ask how many new immigrants we need, what kind and quality of immigrants are necessary, and how we are to integrate them into a harmonious society.

People have to understand that the future prosperity of Singapore depends on how well we tackle this problem.

I suggest that instead of just implementing the White Paper, the Government make an effort to fully explain the issues involved and convince the people enough to get them to support the policies with all their heart.

George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'S'poreans must understand issues behind Population White Paper'. Print Edition | Subscribe