A family doctor has urged the Government to do more to encourage Singaporeans to have more babies and uplift Singapore’s poor birth rate, through a forum letter published by the national broadsheet on Wednesday (11 Nov).
Dr Yik Keng Yeong, who runs Tan and Yik Clinic and Surgery at Bishan St 12, pointed out that birth rates around the world have plummeted amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Singapore may be more adversely affected in this regard than most other nations.
Predicting that the city-state’s total fertility rate (TFR) may drop further from the already abysmal low of 1.14 as of last year, Dr Yik said that the fertility problem in Singapore is that the young are “not marrying or procreating.”
Calling on the Government to increase the level of support and incentives it offers citizens to have children, Dr Yik suggested that the authorities could expand parental leave, enhance childcare subsidies, boost tax incentives and employment rights for parents. He wrote:
“While the Government has rolled out package after package of baby incentives, perhaps even more maternity and paternity leave should be granted, childcare subsidies comprehensively enhanced, tax incentives intensified and extra employment rights magnified.”
Cautioning that Singapore could face a grim future if the nation does not spend more to boost its birth rate, Dr Yik said: “Singapore will spend $100 billion to combat the Covid-19 scourge. We also need to spend more on the existential threat of a low fertility rate.
“Otherwise, we may end up with a scenario where Singapore’s population will mainly be made up of the elderly infirm, with no youthful vim and vitality in the workforce, septuagenarians or octogenarians cannot retire, and there won’t even be enough firm hands on deck to care for them.”
Read his forum letter in full HERE.