Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Population White Paper : Filled with flaws and unsubstantiated claims

29th January 2013

Even before the PAP solved the problems caused by the large influx of the last 15 years, it tells us that it wants to continue the large influx until 2030 to reach a population of 6.5-6.9M people. This proposal has shocked both netizens and citizens alike because the past decade of high foreign influx has led to numerous problems and a decline in the quality of life Singaporeans. Singapore now has the highest population density in the world and the PAP govt wants to increase this further by another 30%. The high foreign influx and especially cheap 3rd world labour has caused the income gap to widen, wages to be stagnant among lower income groups, cost of living to shoot up and transport/medical infrastructure to be strained.

Here is the white paper. You should read the white paper in full to understand the arguments but if you don't have time, as usual, I will summarize the main points:

The first section of the paper discusses the challenging demographics we face - that of an ageing workforce. If the current birth rate does not improve we will have an ageing population unless we allow for immigration. Most govts be it Russia, France, Sweden, Finland and S.Korea when confronted with the same problem of low fertility tackles it head on by removing the root causes of low fertility but the PAP proposes a solution that assumes that it will fail to get the fertility rate backup.

However, the evidence produced here is not correct. While it is true that the Singaporean workforce is ageing,  Singapore workforce today consists of both foreigners (40%) and Singaporeans(60%). These foreigners on work permits and employment passes are "refreshed" every few years provide a segment of the workforce is "forever young". So the combined profile of our entire workforce is not going to age substantially over time. Today we have the reverse of an ageing workforce problem that will get worse if the PAP embarks on this irresponsible measure of importing more foreign labor over time - the problem faced by Singaporeans is that of structural unemployment. There is underemployment or unemployment of our older workers (45 and above) because the PAP open the floodgates to supply the labor market with younger foreign workers many of our older workers have been retrenched and find it hard to get new jobs. They usually end up underemployed in positions that do not fully utilize their skills and experience.

The white paper also talks about the low fertility rate among Singaporeans. This I've explained in previous postings is fixed by importing babies today or adults into our workforce 20 years from now. You cannot import adults to make up for the shortfall in babies today. Even then in terms of numbers we are talking about a shortfall of 10-20 thousand babies a year but the white paper talks about expanding the population by about 100 thousand a year - 5 times the baby short fall from replacement level. What is the extra 80,000 people for? Other than force feeding the economy with people to keep it growing, it really does not make sense.

The last part of the white paper discusses the final numbers we will be looking at in 2030, a population consisting of 55% Singaporeans (this number includes the newly minted citizens during the 17 year period) and calls this a "strong core" of Singaporeans. It also discusses the benefits if the PAP govt goes along the proposed plan - increase job opportunities, good quality of life, and the chance to live in a vibrant economy. To tell this to Singaporeans who are already filled with anger and frustration resulting from the high foreign influx of the last decade that maintaining a high influx is good for them is an insult - we already know the consequences and outcomes of such a policy, throughout the last decade, the PAP has reiterated that a high foreign influx is here to create a better life for Singapore, but that is not what happened.   To try to fool us again shows the disingenuity of our leaders - not only have they failed to deliver, they are now proposing to go along a trajectory we know will not deliver a good quality of life for our people.

article from LuckyTan 


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