- MM Lee
"Singapore's current total fertility rate is 1.28, even lower than that of Japan (1.37), which too is facing an ageing and declining population." - MM Lee
"We need immigrants to make up for the children we are not having. This is a hard fact of life. Between the ages of 25 and 40, over 30 per cent remain unmarried" - Mr Lee.
Very sobering facts. Many Singaporeans have decided to stop reproducing. Many won't want to get married. Our MM Lee is telling us that so many foreigners are imported into the country because our fertility rate is very low.
MM Lee is wrong. Why? He uses the fertility rate today (1.28) to explain why we need so many foreign workers in Singapore today. The Singapore workforce today is not build (born) today but more than 30 years ago. You cannot use our low fertility rate today to argue that we need so many workers now because our workforce is today is dependent on the fertility rate 30-40 years ago! The fertility rate was 3.0 in 1970 but steadily declined to 2.0 in the late 70s and early 80s.
Using fertility rate argument, our need for foreign imported labor today is no more than say Canada, Italy or Switzerland. MM Lee is now pushing the blame for the large number of foreign workers on Singaporeans! He is now saying they are here because Singaporeans today refuse to have more children - he is saying it is all YOUR FAULT!!! The real reason why our workforce is not bigger today is due to PAP's gigantuan policy error - "Stop at 2"....the overzealous social engineering based on their own flawed belief 30+ years ago that the Singapore economy cannot support a larger population today. Now they have swung to the other extreme to expand the population.
The real reason for the large % of imported labor, more than almost anywhere else in the world, is to keep wages down so that rent, utilities, transport and other costs can go up. It would have been alright if we did it like Dubai where the indigenous population sit on top of the economic food chain while foreigners do all the work. The problem is a large number of Singaporeans are at the bottom of the food chain....crushed.
The strategy to import people and quickly convert them to citizens to rapidly expand the population today will mean the size of our elderly population will be huge 30 years from today - that will mean that there will be less resources to support each aged person when it happens. The PAP's shortsighted policies to import people to grow the economy quickly will cause numerous problems down the road that will hurt Singaporeans badly. Already we see the benefits of this policy concentrated on a small segment of our society the big businesses and landlords while the ordinary Singaporean has to face the pain of lower wages and higher cost of living (housing etc) leading to the high stress levels that is primary cause of low fertility[link, link, link] To hear that the need for foreign workers is now blamed on our inability to have and support more children per family is an insult - the PAP govt is now rubbing salt onto our wounds.
Business Times - 14 Aug 2009
H1 would have been worse without foreign workers: MM
More Singaporeans would have lost jobs; immigrants vital to keep economy strong
By LEE U-WEN (SINGAPORE) Among those who lost their jobs in the first half of this year, many have been foreign workers, rather than Singaporeans. And among citizens and permanent residents, there were net job gains in the first six months of 2009, even though the economy shrank 6.5 per cent during that period, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said last night.
Speaking to his constituents and grassroots leaders at the Tanjong Pagar National Day celebration dinner, Mr Lee drove home the point that Singapore needs foreign workers so that the country can grow faster when conditions are favourable, and to buffer the shock when conditions turn.
In his speech, Mr Lee said 70 per cent of all foreigners in Singapore are here temporarily on renewable long-term passes, while the remainder are PRs.
'Had we not had the foreign workers, more Singaporeans would have lost their jobs,' he said.
'We need immigrants to make up for the children we are not having. This is a hard fact of life. Between the ages of 25 and 40, over 30 per cent remain unmarried,' said Mr Lee at the Tanjong Pagar Community Club. 'Those who marry are not replacing themselves.
'Singapore's current total fertility rate is 1.28, even lower than that of Japan (1.37), which too is facing an ageing and declining population. Latest figures show that in Singapore, Malays have the highest average of 1.91 children; Indians 1.19; and Chinese the lowest with just 1.14 children.
'If we do not have educated Malaysians, China Chinese, India Indians and others from the region, our economy will decline. Our labour force will shrink,' said Mr Lee.
'Without immigration, the ageing problem will be too heavy a burden for our young. Immigrants who can be integrated without upsetting the racial balance are in our interest.'
Turning to his views on the economy, which is beginning to show signs of a recovery, he urged Singaporeans to take a 'long-term view of our position' and not be short-sighted.'We are in a strong position today, our stability and efficiency is known throughout the world,' he said.
Citing one recent example of the overall level of investor confidence in the Republic, Mr Lee recalled how US oil giant ExxonMobil decided to pump in US$4.5 billion to build a steam cracker project on Jurong Island in 2007. The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2011.
'Their CEO Rex Tillerson believed demand would be there. But his board of directors were so surprised they were unwilling to believe this,' said Mr Lee.
'So he took an aeroplane to bring them all here, to meet with the prime minister and I. We spent one-and-a-half hours discussing the future of this region and Singapore's place. We took them to Jurong Island, and after that they agreed.
''US$4.5 billion is a vote of confidence in our future. Other MNCs will notice that and I'm quite sure when the financial crisis is over, we are going to get many investments,' said Mr Lee, adding that Singapore has many free trade deals with countries such as the US, Japan, India and China.'If we cannot grow, then there must be something wrong with us,' he said.