Former Minister Vivian Balakrishnan today warned Singaporeans that if they reject a 6.9 population plan, there will be more poor people and elderly in the country because of falling birth rate and a failing economy:

“My greater fear is that our population will never reach much beyond 6 million – because if your fertility rate is low and your economy is not booming, and people don’t want to come, you won’t have a problem of worrying about 6.9 million. The greater threat is stagnation, ageing and shrinking. This would mean more people who would need help – the old, the poor because jobs have moved on, the displaced professionals and technicians.”

Vivian did not explain why would having a sustainable population, where the absolute number is maintained, could cause the economy to tank.

Photo of Viviaan Balakrishnan from Shushan Lam CNA
Photo of Viviaan Balakrishnan from Shushan Lam CNA

The PAP candidate for Holland-Bukit Timah also made a baseless claim blaming growing inequality to globalisation and that the PAP government is not at fault for the widening income gap in Singapore:

“I need you all to understand that there is a global trend we cannot cut ourselves off from. Anybody who tells you otherwise, that they can shield you, is selling you koyok (quack medicine). Inequality is a political issue but it is not just caused by politicians, it is caused by technological changes that are going to wipe out jobs and production lines. We are confronting major challenges in next few years. And if we spend time… quibbling about details and miss the big picture, our children will be in trouble.”

Singapore has the highest income gap among developed countries but its technology still lags behind more equal countries like Switzerland, Norway, Germany and UK.