Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Yahoo Singapore

In his recent interview with US-based TIME Magazine, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admitted that making Singaporeans feel rooted and stay in Singapore is a problem to him. PM Lee said that because of English standards and good education, many Singaporeans have aplenty of options overseas, especially for the talented and successful ones.

He lamented that if more Singaporeans are leaving Singapore, the country will be shrunken.

“With Singaporeans, you speak English, you’re well-educated, the doors open everywhere. You can go to Silicon Valley, you can go to Sydney, you can go to Perth, you can go to London, Frankfurt, you’re welcomed and it’s not just talking about five, 10 per cent at the top who are like that but 30, 40, maybe even 50 per cent who are welcomed.

If the successful ones mostly leave, we’re going to be depleted. And if it goes beyond the successful ones, we’ll be shrunken.”

Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Yahoo Singapore
Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Yahoo Singapore

It appears that PM Lee is unaware that large number of Singaporeans are also leaving for non-English speaking countries like Malaysia, Thailand and China. And that many Singaporeans are leaving not because of attractive overseas employment offers, but because of the political situation in Singapore.

PM Lee also did not explain how has his government helped Singaporeans to stay rooted to the country, except saying that he finds it a big problem to balance foreigners number and forging national identity among Singaporeans.

PM Lee said Singapore must have a “solid Singaporean core”, but did not offer any solutions either:

“If you don’t have that Singapore core, you can top up the numbers, but you are no longer Singapore. It doesn’t feel Singapore, it isn’t Singapore and we can issue everybody red passports, but where is the continuity?

The Government has taken steps to slow the intake of foreigners in recent years. But faced with a rapidly ageing population, “the solution we have to be able to work, is to have enough of our own children for the next generation.”

If PM Lee is serious about his emphasis on a Singaporean core, why did he propose a 6.9 million population then? It is also noticed that the number of S-Pass holders have also risen 77% over the last 5 years, so does this mean PM Lee Hsien Loong​ is not concerned about the national identity after all?

Screenshot from MOM
Screenshot from MOM