SINGAPORE: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office S Iswaran assures Singaporeans that the 6.9 million population figure in the White Paper is not a target the government is setting itself to achieve.
He said it is the upper bound of a range of 6.5 to 6.9 million figure by 2030.
Mr Iswaran was speaking at a dialogue during his Ministerial visit to Jurong Central in the Jurong GRC.
He said: "Basically we want to start with Singaporeans in the centre, Singaporeans are the primary focus, we are doing this because we want to do our best for Singaporeans now and in the future, for future generations."
As for the population growth projected by 2030, he said: "6.9 million population is not a target, in other words we are not saying we must try and hit this number in 2030.
"6.9 million is there to give an idea of the upper end, the upper bound of the possible scenarios we can see looking ahead for 18 years.
"Why do we need to look at the upper bound? Because if you decide that is the upper bound is the possibility even though it’s not a target, then we have to make decisions now about infrastructure, because if you want to build more MRT lines, if you want to do more in terms of infrastructure, if you want to do different kinds of projects in terms of housing, in terms of land use planning, a lot of the decisions have to be made now. It doesn’t mean we have to hit that number, but we have to prepare."
Concerns over the future quality of life with the new population projections set out in the White Paper, were also raised at the dialogue where one perennial concern amongst residents was overcrowding in public transport.
Mr Iswaran noted that as the population grew, there would be additional stresses on the infrastructure.
"The government is alive and is aware that we must take care of short term issues even as we look at the long term and have our infrastructure rolling out for the long term.
"At the same time, we are also doing our best to see how we can address some of these short term issues which continue to be a cause of concern for Singaporeans and legitimately so."
Mr Iswaran believes Parliament’s debate on the White Paper beginning Monday will help create a larger awareness of the challenges which go beyond the projected population numbers.
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