Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Singapore gained its independence in 1965 with Lee Kuan Yew as its first prime minister. He transformed Singapore from third world to first in the span of 50 years. This renowned leader created a nation full of peace and stability, encouraging and welcoming immigrants to this rapidly growing immigrant nation. It is due to him, and his vision that Singapore should be pro-immigration that we are now one of the richest countries in the world. Singapore has come across many obstacles along the way, and now we are facing two eminent challenges: the rapidly ageing population, and a low fertility rate. Therefore, immigration has been an important solution to tackle the demographic problem and ensure sustained economic prosperity.
The growth in Singapore’s economy since independence after separating from Malaysia is widely known. From 1965 to 2015, there was an average rate of nearly 8 per cent in its economy and Singapore has also overseen the growth in world-class industries like life sciences, engineering, arts and media alike. These industries depend strongly on getting foreign talent and investments to grow and sustain them. These avant-garde industries attracted many investors from across the globe and also increased the number of jobs needed to keep the economy booming.
However, this success has not been without social costs. Many Singaporeans today have concerns when it comes to immigrants. Indeed, integration is a complex and nuanced issue, and many locals have mixed feelings. Most of the public feel that the country has become overpopulated, and this inconveniences locals who have to share space in many ways. This anti-immigrants notion was brought to attention during the 2011 General Elections as well as the 2013 Population White Paper. In the 2011 general election, all but one constituency was contested. It was also the election where the PAP got its lowest vote share of 60.1 per cent since independence in 1965. Some of the key issues that the public had with the government was overcrowding on public transport. The transport troubles and never-increasing pays were blamed on the increase of immigrants due to a liberal immigration policy, thus resulting in less support towards the government. The rate of immigration had become one of the vital points of discontent amongst the voters. Five years ago in January 2013, the Government released the Population White Paper. Not only did the White Paper elicit the normal grumblings, but it also sparked online protests and real-world ones at Hong Lim Park where one common cry was “Singapore for Singaporeans”. Since then, populist anti-immigrant anger has swept through several developed countries in the West. The political tidal wave produced Brexit in Britain and helped pushed Mr Donald Trump to victory in the 2016 United States presidential election. Education is something that we undergo everyday, yet how many of us actually understand the whole process that we are going through? We have heard countless stories of our peers studying for that MSG 1.0, getting stressed by every single graded assignment even though it only account for 1% of our overall grade, getting upset over each and every score that they deem as a “failure” (when we actually failed the test and they have passed), studying hard so that they will not get a major scolding from their parents and the list goes on. Should this be our attitude towards education? It is true that we may not have a perfect education system, but looking at the mere topic of education, is there a better way to embrace it? After all, it is something that we go through everyday, and will go through it for a lifetime.
On the economic side of things, both business and companies alike support immigration. Hiring immigrants would keep profits up and cost down and immigrants bring different experience and philosophical approaches from their native countries. Immigrants can revolutionize the entrepreneurial landscape because of these new ways they bring to the table. They are recognised as good entrepreneurs, for these reasons: those with the ambition and energy to uproot themselves and build new lives in a distant land are well equipped to build businesses and the economy, too. There are also many push factors like for immigrants to want to come to singapore, such as escaping war or instability in their own country, escaping poverty and poor conditions and even overpopulation in own country. And Singapore is a very attractive destination due to these reasons: Singapore has peace and stability and has a generally higher wages compared to other countries. Speaking about wages, according to text C, many Singaporeans question whether their acquisition of citizenship is primarily for economic benefits, with a passport which allows freer travel and enjoyment of social benefits from heavily subsidised education to medical fees. It is obvious that most immigrants immigrate to Singapore for economic purposes, but a large percent of them even uproot their families along with them in search for a better life for them too, showing that they plan to stay in Singapore and build roots in this immigrant nation, like many other immigrants before them. Immigrants would also be committed to national security, wholeheartedly defending the nation against threats since that would mean protecting their new home and their family. All of this shows that new citizens would pledge their allegiance to Singapore.
These were the considerations our government had in mind when they drafted the 2013 Population White Paper. It consists of the Government’s policies to maintain a steady population, regulate how many new Singapore citizens and permanent residents we take in, create jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans, as well as strengthen our identity and society.
Singapore has also realized that integrating migrants into society is an important part in allowing both the population and the new citizens to adapt to their new members. It is the integration of foreign and home-grown talent and the efficient management of low-skilled migrants that have allowed the country to enjoy decades of sustained economic growth. Thus, Singapore should continue to encourage immigration and integrate the new citizens well so that the population would not be discontent with the influx of foreigners.