Lee Hsien Loong, Population

Three groups on PM Lee's mind in population challenge

Three groups of people are of greatest concern to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as he looks at the long-term population problems identified in the White Paper, and considers the level of immigration and inflow of foreign workers.

The first group are the elderly, whose ranks will swell as post-war Baby Boomers age, he said in his Chinese speech on Friday in Parliament. While Singaporeans are filial and want to care for their parents, they face problems when their parents fall ill and have to look after their children as well.

Letting in more foreign domestic workers is one way to help them.

The second group are Singaporeans earning low incomes, whose livelihood may be affected if the businesses they work for cannot find enough workers and have to shut down.

Younger Singaporeans are the third group. Without growth and vitality in Singapore's economy, they may migrate.

On integrating new citizens, Mr Lee criticised Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang's remark that only Singaporeans born and bred here can make up the citizen core as "too pessimistic and narrow-minded".

Citing a Chinese saying to illustrate that Singaporeans should be gracious and generous in welcoming others in their midst, he said this was the way for country to prosper based on thousands of years of wisdom.


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