Chen questions immigratio​n policy though he benefited form it, says Shanmugam

Dear Mr Shanmugam,

I refer to the 30 Apr 2011 report of your remarks on Mr Chen Show Mao.

You said it surprises you that Mr Chen is making an issue out of immigration when he himself has benefitted from it.

But Mr Chen made no issues with immigration per say. He specifically referred to the tens of thousands of foreigners coming each year. In other words, Mr Chen is taking issue with the rate of immigration, not immigration per say.

The following table comes from the 2009 United Nations HDI data for Singapore’s human movement:

1960-1990 1990-2005 2005-2010
Increase in stock of immigrants (000s) 208.1 766.7 472.9
Average increase in stock of immigrants per year (000s) 7 51 95

It shows that when Mr Chen came to Singapore in 1972, the average immigration rate was only 7,000 per year. But now, the immigration rate is 95,000 per year on average. Our immigration rate has exploded by nearly 14 times. Therefore, Mr Chen is right to point out that our immigration rate is now too high, much higher compared to the time when he came.

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