21 October 2012

Population — Why Stop At 6.5 Million?

In February 2007, we learnt that the Government was laying the groundwork for a population of 6.5 million, a target that could be reached within 20 years.  We were told that the Government wasn't aiming for 6.5 million, but that number was a planning parameter which would form the basis of Singapore's development plans for housing, recreation and land transport.
The population then was 4.4 million (June 2006), comprising 3.1 million citizens, 0.4 million permanent residents (i.e., foreign nationals who have been granted the privilege of long-term stay in Singapore with quasi-citizenship benefits) and 0.9 million non-residents.  That is, 70.6 per cent citizens, or roughly 7 citizens to 3 foreigners.

The previous planning parameter of 5.5 million, set out in Concept Plan 2001, was already in danger of being exceeded.  It was supposed to be a planning parameter, not a target.

Then-Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan said that it was crucial to plan and invest for the future.  Otherwise, precious business opportunities would be lost if potential investors found insufficient land and infrastructure for their needs.  Nevertheless, he tried to assure us that Singapore would not be bursting at the seams.

14 October 2012

Calibrating Immigration and Foreign Worker Inflow — What Does It Really Mean?

It seems increasingly fashionable nowadays to use the word "calibrate".

Here's a recent example.

We must complement our resident workforce with a calibrated rate of immigration and foreign worker inflow, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry in its paper MTI Occasional Paper on Population and Economy (September 2012).

What does the Government mean by a calibrated rate of immigration and foreign worker inflow?

What does the public think the Government means?