Even as the Opposition has been pushing the Government hard on Singaporeans’ concerns about a 6.9 million population, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said he had an even greater worry.
“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,” said the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency (GRC) on Monday (Sep 7) night.
This would mean more people who would need help – the old, the poor because jobs have moved on, the displaced professionals and technicians, he said.
Speaking at a PAP rally, the Minister for Environment and Water Resources said Singapore faced certain unavoidable fundamental challenges, such as climate change and globalisation. “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),” he said.
Dr Balakrishnan said: “In all the excitement of politics and elections, never forget our fundamental constraints… When people come up with ideas and people debate or entertain, never make the mistake of forgetting that actually, life and death, survival, prosperity and unity are at stake. That’s how serious elections are.”