6.9 million population a worst case scenario: Khaw

The projected population figure of 6.9 million by 2030 is a worst case scenario, and it is hoped that the actual figure would be much lower, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Friday.

On his blog, he said the two papers released earlier this week - the Population White Paper and Land Use Plan - were about the quality of lives people lead here, even as the nation shifts into its next phase of development.

"Having met basic needs, our people are rightly yearning for a better quality of life: a more meaningful life, a better work-life balance, a smarter working life with quality time for family, leisure, friends, arts and sports," he said.

This is why the government has planned for the long term, and has anticipated challenges this way, in a bid to ensure future generations do not suffer. "That will be irresponsible, and that is not our style," he added.

But he acknowledged that problems don't solve themselves overnight. An MRT line, for instance, takes more than 10 years to build.

Hence the only way the government can cover all bases, is to plan for an aggressive projection of 6.9 million. "This way we will not be caught under-providing, as we are experiencing currently," he said.

"We may never reach that figure. But as planners, we have to ensure that the infrastructure could accommodate such a figure, if need be," he said.

The documents will be tabled to be debated in Parliament next week.

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