Singaporean protestors voice concerns over increased immigration plans

Published:  19 Feb at 6 PM
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A huge protest at Singapore’s Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park signalled Singaporeans’ unrest at the government’s plan to raise population numbers by encouraging immigration.

Earlier this month, Singapore’s government lawmakers endorsed a study which suggested the solution to the declining workforce was to increase immigration. The white paper outlined a timeline to increase the population by 1.3 million by 2030.

Given that protests have only been allowed in Singapore since the year 2000, the many thousands who gathered at the park is being seen as a red flag for the present government, with some suggesting the government will lose the next election in 2016. Residents are blaming the present influx of migrants for increased property prices and unemployment.

Worryingly for the government, this is the first protest based solely on politics, with assistant law professor Eugene Tan from Singapore Management University stating that governments should not present policies as imperative. Accepting government decisions as to what is right, he added, is a thing of the past.

The protest was promoted through Facebook and attracted over 4,000 citizens, some with placards saying they wanted to be heard, not herded. Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, a supporter of free speech, is pleased citizens are debating the issue and coming out and being seen to disagree.

Singaporeans are voicing their concerns that, should the government plans go ahead, they will be a minority in their own city-state. At the present time there are 2 million foreigners to 3.2 million citizens, and the government is having to justify increased immigration by stating that foreign workers helped forge Singapore’s advanced economy.
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