‘Worrying’ if population crosses 6.3 million

SINGAPORE should be able to handle a population of slightly above six million, but beyond that would be ‘worrying’, said the chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities advisory board Liu Thai Ker.

Mr Liu, a former chief executive of the Housing & Development Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority, said that since Singapore has planned for a population of 5.5 million, a 10-12% increase to a population of 6.2 million ‘would not make a huge difference’.

‘The question is, beyond say 6.3 million, seven million, 7.5 million, what will happen,’ he said. ‘I think that is where we will begin to worry. But personally I feel that we need not despair too quickly in the sense that we still have Pulau Ubin, we still have Pulau Tekong.’ Using these islands, he said, is a last resort.

He also said that if Singapore’s population goes beyond 7.5 million, it will ‘need to do some rethinking’.

In 2007, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said the government had increased its long-term population estimate. For planning purposes URA would use a projected population of 6.5 million, up from 5.5 million in 2001 projection.

The 6.5 million number is not a target the government feels Singapore’s population should reach. Mr Mah said it is a ‘planning parameter’ – to guide future development blueprints in URA’s Concept Plan.

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