Saturday, July 28, 2007

Impact of Population & Immigration policy

Workers Party NCMP Sylvia Lim has raised a very important point in her speech in parliament. She was questioning the aggressive population policy of jacking up the population size to 6.5 million targeted by the PAP government. Could our social infrastructure cope with such aggressive increase in population?

As far as we know, Singaporeans' birth rate is dropping beyond self-replacement level. So how do we do magic by increasing our population by more than 50% when we could not even replace ourselves? The only way to achieve such aggressive population policy is to open the floodgate wide to allow foreigners to come in, work, get permanent residence or even citizenship.

To cope with such aggressive population policy, there are few areas of concerns:

Jobs & Economy

Although the influx of foreign workers could create internal demands on local services, but Singapore is basically an economy that depends very much on foreign investment and trade. Could our economy creates enough jobs for these foreign workers? If not, then the next question is, would our citizens be replaced by cheaper foreign substitutes?

Health Care

The pressure and stress on our health care system is already showing signs of collapse. To aggravate the problem, the PAP government is pushing for "medical tourism" and this would only worsen the pressure on the local health care system. Those government "restructured hospitals" are encouraged to earn more money from these "medical tourists". But what's the priority and focus here? Government "restructured hospitals" should serve the interests of local citizens first. If there is no excess capacity, why should these hospitals engaged in these lucrative "business" of taking in medical tourists?

On the other hand, PAP government government is reluctant in building new hospitals. It took nine years for it to build a hospital in the North, after much pressure from electoral campaigning. The West side, which house the heavy industrial parks, is still lacking a decent hospital.

When the supply of health care services like hospital is kept stagnant, with an increase in population and extra demand caused by the promotion "medical tourists", the rise in health care cost is inevitable. And we are seeing shortages of hospital beds and blood quite frequently in recent years.

Education

Education is the pillar of Singapore's progress. This is especially so when we are a small country that depends very much on human resources. And it is only logical that the quality of life of Singaporeans could only be improved if the education level of Singaporeans at large is improved.

From a historical perspective, those countries that put consistent focus in education excel well for their citizens and economy. Finland, Germany, Japan etc. So much so that many others try to emulate them. eg. Hong Kong is targeting 60% of their student cohort to get post-secondary education, even go to the extend of introducing "associate degree" and pushing for more institutions to provide higher diploma and degree courses.

In contrast, our PAP government is giving more places and scholarship for foreigners/ permanent residents to get into our universities! The argument that MTI of USA has 40% foreign students is absolutely flawed. There are hundred of universities or colleges in USA that provide tertiary education for Americans and they could afford to have a few colleges that could have high percentage of foreign students. But in Singapore, we only have 4 universities and we are giving 20% of our TOTAL university places to foreigners? Hong Kong has a population of 7 million to 7.5 million and they have 12 universities now and still trying to increase the numbers. So how many universities should we have to cater for a population of 6.5 million that provides at least 20% of places to foreigners?

Public Transport

We are facing a stress on our bus and train services right now. During peak hours, these basic public transport system are packed with people. Off-peak hours, frequency of buses and trains are pretty much lower.

Hong Kong is a good example for us to examine as its population is about 7 million. At that population level, its train consists of 8 cabins instead of 6 (that we used here in Singapore). However, its frequency of train services is pretty much higher, regardless of peak or off peak hour, compared to Singapore. During peak hour, its frequency could be as fast as 30 seconds to 1 minute per train. Off peak hour, average waiting time will not last more than 3.5 minutes.

Looking back at our train system, are we ready to cater to a population of 6.5 million? 6 cabin-train system is definitely insufficient to cater to a population of 6.5 million! If we are to increase the number cabins, it may need massive modifications to our existing rail and stations infrastructure!

Housing, Property & Space

I do not know whether our housing policy could possibly cater to a population of 6.5 million with about 40% or 50% foreigners. this is basically because there will be bigger fluctuations in demand while supply is sticky. The recent spike in housing prices and rental is a testimony of such demand fluctuation in play. Housing supply normally lacks behind demand changes basically due to time lag of realization of supply to cope with demand structure.

The situation is worsen by the fact that there are a lot of foreign funds speculating on local housing prices. These funds are fluid and could be withdrew easily. This impact on the quality of Singaporeans at large is yet to be seen. But the crash of 1997 is a good indication of the massive wealth impact on local Singaporeans. Many people who bought a house to stay back then, including me, are caught in the crash and become negative asset holders, even though we are not speculators!

Conclusion

The ultimate question is this: ARE WE TRULY READY for such aggressive population & immigration policy? There are two aspects:

1) Are we investing enough in our infrastructure to cater for such a population boom?
2) Are we having enough laws and regulations to protect our own citizens from the negative impact of waves of foreign influx?

This is something for all of us to think about.

Goh Meng Seng

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

the complaints are valid. but i suspect the govn has it covered. the recent boom in the property market is their doing. but lets not disclose the reasons in the open. the thing to note is, they control the floodgate and you need not be a genius to figure out what it can do.

at best. if you are lucky, you will be rich and of course, who else. at worse, the opening of the floodgate will well, flood.

noah's services may be required here.

BullshitGMS said...

How can you trust the bullshit of GMS ?

Please read his lies here:

www.bullshitgms.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

For the sake of the opposition, please shut that big mouth of yours for good or quit internet forums. Don't you feel ashamed that a big man like yourself is quarreling in public with a lady forumer ? You want ST to publish a report on that issit ? Already the recent report is not doing you or NSP a favor. Are you very proud of the fact that ST reports Edmund Ng's criticism of you that what you say don't make sense ? Argue, argue and argue, but never see you challenging the PAP. What a F**Kup disgrace you are.

Anonymous said...

Whichever party GMS joins he seemed to bring them trouble, either he quites the political scene altogether or forms his own party

Anonymous said...

The fat Seng has so cleverly displayed his pettiness for all to see in public, what a chow ku niang he is! Better go and wear a bra and panty !

Bluesoton said...

Goh Meng Seng kept criticizing his foes as being armchair critics where all he did is to show off his "debating" skills on internet forums. How come we don't hear him writing to the Forum to lambast the PAP ?

Kaku said...

The problem with a lot of singaporeans is to complain. I hope that instead of just asking questions, we should provide adequate answers to the problems. And most of the comments are so non constructive that I do not understand why. Do Singaporeans think so highly of themselves and become so un gracious. Even Philip Yeo of A-Star in the past lambasted a potential young scholar for his lack of basic manners. Just because people are on the net, they just scold everyone and criticize, instead of giving corrections and giving his or her own view. Will they just continue to hide behind the computer? That is so sad...

Mr Bell said...

The saddest thing is to see political charlatans Goh Meng Seng out to score brownie points by shooting off his mouth on the internet without thinking. Why didn't he choose to engage the PAP directly instead of hiding behind his PC and writing bullshit ?

You seriously need to have your brain checked at IMH, Meng Seng.

Anonymous said...

What is neglected to be mentioned is that a lot of these immigration also compete with the local population on in demand jobs, such as office admin staff, engineering, store and retail managers, suppressing wages for the less educated, and putting many of them out of work. The government in my view have adopted the lazy approach towards immigration, instead of regulating skilled immigration to only allow those with in-demand skills and high experiences in certain fields, and those willing to take up work that no Singaporeans truly want, instead of overflowing into sectors that there are already many local people applying for work. And also to establish a sensible living wage base on the inflated cost-of-living, so as to prevent employeers from employing foreign workers and 'talents' to cut costs instead of investing in tangibly and sustainably productivity.