20141007 297,000 Singapore citizenship granted since 1987 to generate economic ‘growth’, not to resolve low TFR issue

Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has been below replacement level for more than 30 years, no thanks to our flawed ‘Stop-At-Two’ and immigration policy. Instead of resolving the TFR issue, the PAP uses this as an opportunity to increase the population to generate economic activity.

The huge increase in the number of new citizens increases the demand on real estate, transportation, travel, entertainment, etc. The PAP has been using this as a shortcut to GDP growth and it is solely responsible for the high cost of living in Singapore.

Citizens have repeatedly been told that one of the reasons for our immigration policy is to help increase the low TFR. But it does not make any sense when after granting 297,000* Singapore citizenship since 1987, 27 years ago, the TFR fell off the cliff. (see chart below)
* 2007 to 2013 = 132,975
1987 to 2006 = 8,200 X 20 years = 164,000
132,975 + 164,000 = 296,975 new citizens

The PAP government cannot be unaware of this fact but it prefers to continue running our country as Singapore Inc. The Population White Paper had to be urgently rammed through Parliament last year using the same propaganda ie falling TFR. Just look around and observe the increasing number of construction activities – it is in preparation for a future increase in the population to create ‘growth’ and generate profits. It has very little to do with our low TFR. (nor ageing population)

Since the PAP has failed to increase the TFR for almost 3 decades, aren’t citizens paying top dollar for failures?

Although the average annual intake of new citizens was below 10,000 before the turn of the century, the rate has almost tripled to 20,000 last year. The recent increased intake of new citizens is a cause for concern.

In November 2011, DPM Teo Chee Hean told Parliament that “From 2001 to 2010, there were on average about 13,000 persons granted Singapore”.

From the above table, 131,110 foreigners became Singapore citizens within 10 years.

Including the 57,042 new citizens from 2011 to 2013, the total number of new citizens since 2000 is 188,152.

But the PAP did not actually fail in raising the TFR because it has all the while been using the immigration policy as a cover to increase our GDP. After all, the KPIs of politicians and policymakers are all tied to the GDP so what better way to increase their own salaries?

Bear in mind that our wealth is mostly tied to real estate. Without the 297,000 new citizens since 1987, the value of our properties would be only a fraction of their current price. In addition to new citizens, there were also 390,000 new PRs since 2000. These two groups contributed immensely to the increase in demand for housing, travel, entertainment, education, etc.

No one is arguing against zero immigration but a sustainable policy requires a reduced number. However, this will lead to a corresponding decline in the GDP and, of course,ministers’ salary. The PAP has been using this immigration/population shortcut for decades. Remove this shortcut and our economic miracle is but a mirage.

Opaque government

The PAP prevents scrutiny of its failed immigration policy by concealing data and offering those which are not pertinent. Notice it has selectively published statistics on citizens but at other times, citizens and PRs are classified as ‘residents’ despite there being clear differences. If there are no statistics on citizens, then how does the government plan? Tikam-tikam? As much as it attempts to prevent scrutiny, it is not possible to cover every angle.

The PAP also claims our immigration policy helps to resolve the ageing population issue but…

New citizens DO NOT help resolve the ageing population issue

The age profile of new citizens, who are selected from the current pool of PRs, is older (worse) than that of Singaporeans. A larger proportion of PRs are aged above 30. The PAP will therefore be increasing the number of elderly citizens a few decades down the road. Proper planning?

Age profile of PRs and citizens

The percentage of new citizens aged above 30 is about 44%

AGE/YEAR 2012 2013
ABOVE 40 17.80% 17.50%
31 TO 40 26.70% 26.00%
21 TO 30 17.40% 15.30%
BELOW 20 38.10% 41.20%

Can Singaporeans trust PAP’s ‘planning’?

PAP’s planning is really questionable as evidenced by its abysmal record. For almost 3 decades, its ‘solution’ to a low TFR has only seen it decline further.

When the ‘Stop-At-Two’ policy was implemented in 1969, our leaders did not have any foresight but was focused on solving their present problems with an immediate solution. But TFR decline was already underway globally.

Now, when PAP says it has a crystal ball and knows what our 2050 population will be like, citizens should really start to worry. Despite total control on demand and supply on this 716 sq km little red dot, it has already screwed up big time in planning for housing, transportation and healthcare.

When PAP planned in 1991 for a population of 4 million in 2030 but a 4 million population was achieved in 2000, can any sane citizen trust such a government?

PAP would like us to believe our population will be like this (below) in 36 years time after its abysmal record in planning.

By taking in new citizens with the same age profile, this is probably what 2050 looks like (below). And maybe another half past six scholar will propose increasing the population to 69 million?


PAP claims that our immigration policy is designed to tackle the low TFR issue. However, the TFR has been declining ever since.

Since 1987, the PAP has granted about 297,000* foreigners Singapore citizenship, almost 10% of the population, but the TFR has continued falling. A failure of this magnitude would have set off alarm bells but here in la la land, the PAP not only continues with the same approach, it has increased the rate of intake of new citizens.

Issues such as the high cost of living and policies favouring the employment of foreigners have not been addressed.

The government engages in propaganda to sell a policy which clearly needs urgent fixing and prevents scrutiny by concealing relevant information from the public.

Although the low TFR issue warrants urgent attention, it appears the government has been using the immigration policy for the sole purpose of generating economic ‘growth’.

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