A new Workers’ Party candidate Luke Koh Tiong Yee criticised the PAP for the Stop at Two Policy which contributed to the aging population in Singapore today.
This was what he said at the WP press conference on 27 August, to introduce new candidates.
“The Workers’ Party voted against the 6.9 million population policy in parliament… It is a big mistake like the Two Child Policy. Many of our brothers and sisters are missing today because they were aborted 30 or 40 years ago. Our mothers cried but nobody listened…The graduate mother policy added insult to injury”
The folks at Mothership.sg did a good job here rebutting points 1,2 and 4 pointing out that Luke Koh not only gotten his facts wrong but appeared to resort to sensationalism by mixing faith and politics with his “brothers and sisters” comments.
I want to add on to their good work by pointing out that the aging population phenomenon is not unique to Singapore. Rather, it happens in developed economies. Let’s take a look at this chart.
Source: The World Bank
I have chosen to compare Singapore with Hong Kong and South Korea because they belong to the Four Asian Tigers for their exceptionally high growth rates that have transformed themselves into advanced and high-income economies.
Since the start of industrialisation back in the 1960s, the total fertility birth rate for all economies falling steadily over the years along similar trajectories, falling below the replacement rate of 2.1 around the same period between 1975 and 1985.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the current situation in in 2010.
Source: Singapore's low Total Fertility Rate (TFR): Is our stressful environment the real culprit?https://youtu.be/Mho7nDZXevg?
The bottom line is this: there is nothing special or unique about the low fertility rates in Singapore. We see this phenomenon in other developed East Asian societies as well. The reason for the falling fertility rates and the aging population is because the education level of women has risen in tandem with the high economic growth rates over the years. As women become more educated, marriage is no longer a necessity but a choice. They have been able to become financially independent without relying on men. With fewer marriages, the number of babies born fell as well. That is the cause of the aging population in Singapore.
The Workers’ Party has told Singaporeans to vote for them to Empower Our Future. But in light of Koh’s statements, I have my doubts. How can I trust them to Empower My Future when their candidates cannot get their basics right such as checking their facts first?
What worries me even more is that Luke Koh was reading from a script during the press conference. Surely the script must have been vetted by the WP CEC? If that’s the case, how come no one advised Koh to drop those baseless allegations? Is the WP going down the hill by fielding demagogues and fear mongerers who resort to sensationalism just to stir unhappiness with the ruling party?
And I am not alone in expressing my doubts towards him. Check out the reactions of others to Luke Koh on Channel Newsasia’s Facebook page.
Source: 5 things we noticed about the unveiling of the 2nd batch of Workers’ Party’s candidates,http://mothership.sg/2015/08/
5-things-we-noticed-about-the- unveiling-of-the-2nd-batch-of- workers-partys-candidates/,accessed on 28 August 2015.