Ms Grace Fu
In Parliament today (5 Mar), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu said that the government has embarked on a new “strategic direction” in its population policies to bring about a slower and more sustainable pace of population growth, as committed to in the Population White Paper.
She said, “Our goal is that Singapore continues to be an endearing home and a good place for Singaporeans to live, work and play.”
Ms Fu also told the House that Singapore’s population grew by “just” 1.6% in 2013 last year, the slowest in 10 years and almost half the average rate of 3.1% from 2004 to 2012.
31,000 Singaporean babies were born last year resulting in a fertility rate of 1.19. The number of babies born is fewer than in 2012 but more than in 2011.
Ms Fu also revealed that growth in the foreign workforce in the non-construction sector was halved from 7.1% to 3.5% last year in line with the government’s policy of tightening foreign manpower.
This came about after several thousands of Singaporeans staged the biggest protest since Singapore’s independence, at Hong Lim Park on 16 Feb last year. It was staged against the 6.9 million Population White Paper passed by the PAP-dominated Parliament. Singaporeans were fed-up with the government’s “open door” policy which allowed too many foreigners to stay and work in Singapore, competing for resources with Singaporeans.
Through births and immigration, Singapore citizen population grew by 0.9% to 3.31 million. Some 20,000 foreigners were also granted Singapore citizenship last year.
“These (new citizens) were assessed to be to be able to contribute and integrate well into our society,” Ms Fu said.
In addition, about 30,000 PR status were granted to foreigners last year to “mitigate the shrinking and ageing of our citizen population”, she added.
Hoping to see more Singaporeans giving births, she urged aspiring parents to make time for things that matter, and not wait for the “perfect timing”.
She said, “We, as family members, friends, employers and the community, will be there to encourage and support you every step of the way as you embark on this challenging but immensely fulfilling marriage and parenthood journey.”
Edited by Baal, 05 March 2014 - 10:15 PM.