The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has highlighted Deputy Prime Minister and potential future prime minister Heng Swee Keat’s recent allusion to a 10 million population target, as it announced the upcoming launch of its alternative immigration policy.
Mr Heng, who is also finance minister, made the allusion as he cited former chief planner Liu Thai Ker’s 10 million population argument at a university forum last month.
Speaking to 700 students at a ministerial dialogue at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in April, Mr Heng cited Liu Thai Ker’s views that Singapore should plan for a 10 million population. Mr Heng did so to assert that the goverment’s projected population of 6.9 million by 2030 — an aim that had drawn widespread backlash when it had first been announced in 2013 — is not excessive.
This statement has drawn widespread criticism against the DPM. One notable figure who criticised the heavyweight politician for citing Mr Liu’s “outdated” population target is ex-GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong.
Calling the 10 million population argument “fundamentally economically and socially flawed,” Mr Yeoh said that he is especially disappointed that the finance minister uncritically cited this argument since he is an economist himself and “should know better”.
In a statement released today, the SDP alluded to Mr Heng’s statement as it noted that “PM-in-waiting Heng Swee Keat has signaled that he is open to the idea of a population of 10 million on this island” as one reason why Singaporeans are frustrated with the current immigration policy.
The opposition party asserted that Mr Heng’s allusion to the 10 million population argument does not provide relief to Singaporeans who feel “the effects of an overcrowded city” thanks to the high rate of PMET retrenchment, the high cost of living and the influx of foreigners.
The party then announced that it will launch its alternative policy on immigration and population growth on 8 June 2019 (Saturday). The event, titled “Launch of Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future,” will be held from 2pm at the SDP Office at 3 Ang Mo Kio Street 62, #02-30, Link@AMK. The event is free and open to the public.
The policy launch is the fourth in a series of campaign events that the SDP has organised since January 2019. It has since released its policies on the cost of living, housing and healthcare.
The party, led by secretary-general Chee Soon Juan, said that it “strives to be a responsible opposition party by coming up with alternative ideas to take Singapore forward. We want to give Singaporeans a chance to vote for the SDP, not just against the PAP.”
Repeating an allegation that the PAP has copied its ideas, the party said: “This is one of the reasons why we know that we are on the right track and the reason why we continue to push for change by presenting our alternative ideas to our fellow citizens.”
Read the SDP’s statement in full HERE.
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