It then goes on to use our low TFR and support ratios for the old as justifications for importing foreigners and converting many to PRs and citizens. The white paper has left out our non-resident workforce to show that our OASR (Old age support ratiio is falling. But this is not true once we include the current level of the non-resident workforce - the OASR goes up to 9.8 way above the average among OECD countries. We have already expanded our population so much in the last 10 years with new citizens and the expansion of the non-resident workforce. This expansion is far in excess (by 5-8 times) of what we can achieve if our TFR is maintained at the replacement level of 2.1 i,e. we have already overcompensated for our low fertility of the past....if TFR is the real reason we can just stop importing people for the next 10 years because we have already over-compensated for it.
The white paper also makes ridiculous assertions that the plan will "strengthen the Singaporean core" by shrinking it down to 55% (which includes newly imported citizens) and that the foreign influx is to improve our quality of life as the density of people increases. We are among the most densest cities in the world. The cost of living has escalated as demand for land pushes housing and rental costs up. The govt claims it can expand infrastructure quickly for housing and transport doing what it failed to do in the past. But quality living is not just about housing and transport...the more people you have, the higher pressure on space will affect many aspects of our urban life: from how many children people choose to have, to how often they can play their favorite sports and how they socialize with friends and family.
"Studies have also suggested a correlation between population density and fertility rate. Hong Kong and Singapore have the third and fourth-highest population densities in the world. This may account for their very low birth rates despite high economic freedom. By contrast, the United States ranks 180 out of 241 countries and dependencies by population density" - Wikipedia [Link].
"The empirical evidence presented reveals that persistent regional variations in fertility exist within a country and that regional total fertility rates are n
negatively related to regional population density." - Research Paper[Link]
Research shows that increasing living density will decrease the TFR of a society so importing people at artificially high rates will worsen our TFR and should never be suggested as a solution. Our TFR has decreased steadily as our population density rose as seen from the findings of the NSP population paper, yet the white paper proposes to put us in this vicious cycle that will shrink the Singaporeans core and eventually destroy our identity.
While the white paper claims that the large foreign influx will lead to creation of jobs opportunities, Singaporeans have experienced the opposite of this. In the early 90s and throughout the 80s, the labor market was tight and Singaporeans workers were in high demand. This led to higher wages, better benefits and demand for older workers who had opportunities during the economic upswings when the labor market became even tighter. Today as the workforce expanded with the foreign influx we see a lack of job security, serious structural unemployment among older workers, stagnant wages, 3rd world wage structure and higher competition for job openings. The high foreign influx has hurt the Singaporean worker in the last decade and nobody can believe the rosy scenario that things will improve for our workers if only the PAP govt is allowed to import more people - it has become ludicrous to make such claims.
If this proposal harms Singaporeans, why does the PAP govt insist on pushing in through?
There is only one real reason
These businesses now lobby for higher growth in our labor force at rate not necessary in any other developed country. Our GDP will grow along with the problems of widening income gap, rising cost of living and stagnant wages. The PAP has presented this white paper distorting the facts, obscuring the dire consequences and painted a fairy tale of rising quality of life and ever expanding economic opportunities for Singaporeans. For the last decade they have repeated this claim that foreigners are here to create jobs for Singaporeans and PAP policies have improved the lives of Singaporeans. Today there is an expanding underclass, rising income gap and Singaporeans especially older PMETs find it harder than ever before to secure jobs that keep up with the rising cost of living .
To show their unhappiness with the high foreign influx and overcrowding, Singaporeans sent a number of strong signals to the govt. The last one was in the Punggol East by-election. With these strong signals, Singaporeans had hoped the PAP would re-balance its policies to benefit ordinary Singaporeans and seek out a more sustainable path to a brighter future for all. Instead of doing this, the PAP govt slapped us all with its white paper that proposed going along the same trajectory as we have done in the last decade - a trajectory that will certainly cause Singaporean families to struggle harder and our society's problems to expand.
This white paper, when passed, will symbolize the failure of a leadership to change its disastrous course. It is also a demonstrate a failure of leadership to understand the problems faced by the people. It is a failure to put the people on top of all other priorities. With this white paper, more people will lose trust in the PAP. The leadership has failed to create a vision we can all buy in and support...it insists on going in a direction strongly resisted by the people.