03 Feb '12, 9pm

Singapore needs to accept immigrants, says MM Lee

SINGAPORE - Buffered from the turmoil in Europe and slowdown in the United States, Singapore is unlikely to see a negative economic growth rate, barring further external negative shocks, said former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (picture) yesterday. But he cautioned it is the nation's diminishing population which will "slow down" the economy. Urging Singaporeans to accept immigrants, even as he acknowledged "many Singaporeans are not comfortable seeing so many new strange faces", Mr Lee said that the biggest challenge the nation faces is in increasing its population as birth rates continue to fall. Last year, the fertility rate stood at 1.08 for Chinese, 1.09 for Indians and 1.64 for Malays. The replacement rate is 2.1. "In other words the population of Chinese Singaporeans in the next generation, 18 to 20 years, will half," said Mr Lee, who was speaking at the Tanjong Paga...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC120204-0000041/Si...

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