By: Ng Yi Shu
The NSP called for a referendum on the Population White Paper released by the National Talent and Population Division yesterday in a seminar that released their own population policy for Singapore. In their Population Plan the NSP called for a halt in the growth of new citizens, uniform quota of 33% for S Pass and E Pass employees and greater benefits for parents and couples such as a free upgrade to larger flats for parents with 3 or more children among other things.
The NSP also unveiled a new member of their party who participated in the research on their Population Plan, Bryan Long. Long was a Defence Science and Technology scholar with the RSAF for 4 years before studying law full-time.
In its Population Plan, the NSP pointed out several issues with the assumptions made by the NTPD as well as the government on population. Firstly, they cited a possible correlation between population density and fertility, supported by independent research in Austria. Secondly, they also cited a high old-age support ratio with both citizens and non-citizens in mind, disclaiming the argument of a declining old-age support ratio for citizens as a reason for bringing in new citizens. Thirdly, they also cited evidence that access to cheap labour through work permit holders has caused suppressed wage growth for the lower income through competition as well as negative productivity growth for the economy.
In its proposals outlined in their own population plan, which was released as part of a project by the NSP’s policy unit, the NSP called for greater incentives in parenthood, such as removing obstacles that face parents who would like to have more children. In its proposal the NSP proposed a joint flat selection scheme by first timers and parents, a removal of resale levy for parents to move near their child, a proposal to stop shrinking the sizes of HDB flats, among other things such as the abolishment of PSLE.
The NSP also called for a pause in the growth in foreign workforce until our public infrastructure and productivity growth is at 1.5% or more. In addition, it also called for limiting the number of new citizens under 10,000 a year, amongst other things such as higher development expenditure for infrastructure.
New citizens = a relief for an ageing population?
Perhaps a possible answer to their question on the influx of new citizens would be that of an assured presence of young citizens in the presence of an ageing population. The government may have a purpose in making immigrants stay instead of being a temporary replacement for jobs our citizens usually do not want.
It may perhaps make sense for potential citizens who would like to contribute to Singapore to be granted citizenship, however; thus the NSP’s proposal is potentially flawed in the limit towards new citizens. However, it is generally agreed that the bar for citizenship should be raised – new citizens should prove their contribution to Singapore socially in order for citizenship to be granted for them.
However, what contribution may mean for native Singaporeans may depend on our willingness to accept a diverse group of immigrants. If not, our struggle to keep our identity might eventually shut off many immigrants that wish to settle here.
You can read the NSP’s population plan here.