8th January 2013
After a week-long heated debate, Parliament voted on Friday to endorse
the population White Paper by 77 votes to 13, with one abstention.
Close to 6pm, Madam Speaker of Parliament Haalimah Yaacob called the House to a vote.
WP leader Low Thia Kiang stunned those in
attendance by standing up to ask the Speaker for a division to the
motion, effectively meaning the House could not decide to pass the paper
by a verbal vote. The House doors were then locked and the assembly took to an electronic vote.
nine Workers' Party MPs and NCMPs, Lina Chiam, along with Nominated
Members of Parliament Janice Koh, Faizah Jamal and Laurence Lien all
voted against the motion, while 77 voted in favour.
NMP Eugene Tan abstained from voting.
the vote was held, PM Lee Hsien Loong made an impassioned, emotional
90-minute plea that was broadcast live on national television, seeking
to reassure Singaporeans that they remained "at the heart of all we do".
he expects the total population in Singapore in 2030 to be
"significantly below" the 6.9 million figure projected in the White
Paper on Population last week, he urged Singaporeans to see beyond the
rhetoric of the past week and understand that "we are all in this
"So what will the total population in Singapore be?" asked PM Lee at one point.
"In my view in 2030, I think 6 million will not be enough to meet
Singaporeans' needs as our population ages because of this problem of
the baby boomers and bulge of ageing people," he said in a live televised address in Malay, Mandarin and finally English.
I believe the total population in 2030 should be significantly below
6.9 million and beyond 2030, in the very long-term, it should not
increase beyond that," he said.
PM Lee added that to project the
population beyond 2020 was "uncertain" and "for future generations to
decide" and that the 6.9 million figure that has drawn widespread
criticism "had been taken out of context."
He said the paper,
more than being about numbers and the economy was to "secure the future
of this generation and future generations of Singaporeans".
that many were concerned that the population in 2030 would only consist
of 55% of core Singaporeans, he said, "We will track and control so we
will not be overwhelmed by the sheer flood of foreigners".
conclusion, PM Lee said Singapore would have to face tough choices and
trade-offs in the years ahead but said "We are all in this together, we
have to go beyond the rhetoric and if we make the right choices our
future is bright."
At one point, PM Lee was also seen choking up
as he talked about the importance of retaining a "Singapore core" of
people who have families and homes here and who were willing to defend
the nation because "we feel as one" and "share sorrows" together.
Finally, he reassured Singaporeans and said "You are at the heart of all of our policies. You are the reason why my
key men and I entered politics… and we want Singapore to do well so
Singaporeans can do well" before concluding that he supported the amended motion.
paper, which was published last week, sparked heated debate among
Singaporeans both online and offline over the government’s projection
that the city-state's population by 2030 could hit nearly 7 million.
also said the country would have to continue to accept more immigrants,
albeit at a slower pace than before, to sustain the country’s economic
growth and offset the country’s low total fertility rate and ageing
Source: Yahoo News