The time is now for open, honest debate

Over the last seven years or so, many businesses in Singapore have been starved of talent, and this has slowed economic growth (Facing up to looming labour shortfall; Sept 20).

This trade-off has been accepted by the Government as it builds its way out of an infrastructure crunch and seeks to appease voters' anger that the population increased by nearly 1.2 million in the first 101/2 years of this century without the infrastructure to support it.

The current policy has resulted in a number of negative, unintended consequences.

Among these is the broader entrenchment of unrealistic attitudes to work, like disengagement from work and a misplaced sense of entitlement to jobs.

There is also the question of what a bigger population means for Singapore, its sustainability and its business community.

What we need now is an open, unemotional discussion of our population's needs.

We have to set out the options available to Singaporeans, discuss their pros and cons, and give clear reasons why each option is the best for Singapore's long-term interests.

Victor Mills

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline 'The time is now for open, honest debate'. Print Edition | Subscribe