Population White Paper debate kicks off

Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng on Monday called for a rethink of some assumptions behind the White Paper on Population, urging policymakers to be prepared to review it if necessary.

Mr Seah, who is also Deputy Speaker, said his deepest concern was the ratio of citizens to foreigners. Currently, this stands at less than two Singaporeans to one foreigner. In future, this may go to less than 1.5 to 1, according to the paper, he noted.

"I hope that the ratio can be maintained at current levels and not decline further by 2030. We do need to do more to have more citizens. Not just by getting new citizens in, but also by getting our people to get married, and getting married couples to have more children," he said.

Mr Seah was the first MP to speak on the White Paper, kicking off the debate in Parliament. He urged Singaporeans to review what he calls 'our biases'.

This includes ideological welfarism, which denies help to the needy on the principle of upholding the work ethic, and the pursuit of economic growth as an end in itself, without regard to social goals such as income disparity and cohesion.

"Let us all focus on the outcomes that the paper seeks to achieve. By all means, raise ideas and suggestions and not simply criticize for the sake of scoring points. If these are valid and worth a review and rethink, I urge government to be prepared to do so," he said.

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