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Social Studies Revision Resource Governance in Singapore (Population)

Understanding Governance through the Study of Singapores Population Policy:

Phase I: The need to curb population growth in the 1960s and 1970s:

At the end of World War 2, there was a baby boom in Singapore as people felt more confident of the future after the war.
More children were also considered to be a security in old age.

The population rose from 1.02 million in 1950 to 1.64 million in 1960. This rapid growth would represent many problems
for Singapore in terms of:
Lack of educational facilities
Lack of housing
Lack of jobs
Lack of proper healthcare
Singapores economy was not strong

Solution: Curb Population (Singapore Family Planning and Population Board 1966 to 1981)

The Singapore Family Planning and Population Board was set up in 1966 and introduced three 5 year plans to help to
control population growth in Singapore:

The first plan emphasised the need for smaller families and aimed to encourage couples to change their mindset
and accept that having smaller families was more beneficial than giving birth to so many children.

The second plan encouraged married couples to stop at two children. Once couples mindsets were tuned to having
smaller families, the aim of the second plan was to get them to accept the idea of having two children, regardless
of gender.

The third plan aimed to maintain the replacement rate level at 2.1 children so as to keep population figures in
check.

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In addition, the following measures were introduced to encourage Singaporeans to reduce the birth rate:

The government also encouraged contraceptive use and legalised abortion.

Punitive measures were also rolled out to discourage couples from having more than two children:

No paid maternity leave was given for the third and subsequent children.
No priority was to be given to large families in the allocation of government flats.
No income tax relief was to be given for the fourth and subsequent children.
Delivery charges in hospitals were increased with each additional child.

Phase II: Need to boost population growth from the 1980s:

The measures to curb the population growth between 1966 to 1981 were very successful and soon the birth rate started
to fall below the replacement rate of 2.1 to 1.82 children per woman.

This decline was due to economic and social changes in Singapore:


Increasing costs of living made people want to have fewer children
Given better educational and employment opportunities, many people preferred to marry at a later age

As a result, something had to be done to boost population growth because if birth rates continued to fall below the rate of
2.1, there would be negative consequences such as:

Factors (WHY was there a need to promote / boost population growth):


Declining Birth Rate from the 1980s (includes factors such as economic factors, career-minded women and
changing mindsets)
Unattractive to Multinational Companies
Ageing Population
Defence

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These are the reasons why there was a need to boost populaiton growth from the 1980s:

Factor: What is it about? [Elaboration] Link [Why is it necessary to boost population


growth?]
Declining Birth By 1980, the fertility rate hit 1.82 children per
Rate from the woman due to the success of the governments
1980s (includes family planning measures. As a result, less children were born and
factors such as At the same time, over the years, women became Singapores birth rate declined.
economic more educated and pursued their careers. Attitudes
factors, career- also changed over the time and couples also
minded women preferred to pursue their careers instead, marrying
and changing later and choosing to either give birth to one child
mindsets) or not have any children.
At the same time, more jobs were created in the With Singapores declining birth rate, Singapores
industries and a larger workforce was needed to development and defence needs would not be met,
sustain Singapores development. Manpower was making it vulnerable to external challenges. It was
also needed for national defence. therefore important for the government to promote
population growth from the 1980s onwards.

Unattractive to With a small population, Singapore would not be As a result, Singapore would not be able to sustain
Multinational able to produce enough talented people to sustain its economic development. Furthermore, its small
Companies its economic development, making it unattractive to population size makes Singapore a small
(MNCs) foreign investors and Multinational Corporations consumer market. It was therefore important for the
(MNCs). It is also difficult and expensive to recruit government to promote population growth from the
local Singaporeans as compared to larger and 1980s onwards.
cheaper labour markets in other countries.

Ageing More resources will be required to meet the The smaller younger population would be
Population physical, health, social and emotional needs of the burdened financially as more resources would be

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senior citizens and more facilities catering to their needed to take care of the increasing number of
needs will need to be built. senior citizens, putting a strain on the countrys
Volunteers and specialists to cater to these needs economic resources and reducing Singapores
will need to be recruited and existing facilities may competitiveness.
need to be upgraded to make them elderly-friendly. It was therefore important for the government to
Furthermore, with fewer babies being born, there promote population growth from the 1980s
would be fewer young people in the workforce onwards.
which would make Singapore less attractive to
investors as they might prefer to employ younger
workers who are considered more effective,
efficient, productive and more up-to-date with skills
and training. As more older people retire, there
would also be a shrinking talent pool.
The number of older people would be
proportionately larger, which means that Singapore
would face an ageing population in the future.
Furthermore, these older people would no longer
be contributing taxes or CPF which would affect
the amount of revenue needed by Singapore for its
development.

Defence With a declining birth rate, there would be fewer This would weaken Singapores defence force and
young men to recruit for National Service. make Singapore vulnerable to external threats and
reduce its defence capabilities. It was therefore
important for the government to promote
population growth from the 1980s onwards.

Model Essay: Refer to The most important reason for the change in Singapores population in the 1980s was the
impact of an ageing population. How far do you agree? Explain your answer.

Analysis of Importance of Factors for Boosting Population Growth in Singapore

Declining Birth Rate Ageing Population Unattractiveness to MNCs Defence

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Most important reason why Very important because an Important because Important because less men
population growth needs to ageing population will result Singapore is dependent on serving the nation will make
be boosted in Singapore in the country having to foreign investment for us vulnerable to threats
because it is the root cause divert a lot of resources to economic development. from external forces.
of all the problems as not meet the needs of an However, Singapore has However, advancements
having enough babies born ageing population. been relying on attracting like Army 3G have allowed
will lead to an ageing Furthermore, an ageing foreign talent to meet the Singapore to meet its
population and will also population has shortfalls of a declining birth defence needs despite the
result in a future smaller repercussions on the rest of rate. declining birth rate.
workforce which would be the countrys population as
unattractive to MNCs and a it becomes strained to
future smaller defence force support the burden created
which would make by the financial needs of
Singapore vulnerable to supporting an ageing
threats. population.

Once it was established that there was a need to promote population growth after the 1980s, a few strategies were
introduced to increase the birth rate in Singapore:

Factors (HOW did Singapore promote / boost population growth):


The Graduate Mothers Scheme
Three or More If You Can Afford It
Other Pro-Family Measures
Attracting Foreign Talent

These are the strategies which were used to boost populaiton growth from the 1980s:

Factor: What is it about? [Elaboration] Link [Was it effective in boosting population


growth?]
The Graduate The Graduate Mothers Scheme was introduced in However, the scheme was unpopular as less
Mothers Scheme 1984 to encourage marriage and having children educated people felt that they were discriminated

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among graduates as it was felt that the education against and would be left out under the policy. The
level of the parents would have a direct impact on scheme was withdrawn after a year.
the performance of their children in schools.
Three or More If The government began to reverse the earlier policy However, these methods are not very successful
You Can Afford It against larger families and parents were as the number of children born per woman
encouraged to have three children or more if they continued to decrease.
could afford it.
Many newly married couples continued to have
To help relieve the financial burden of having only one or two children and a sizeable number of
children, the government introduced measures Singaporeans either married late and had no
such as allowing the use of Medisave to pay for the children or chose to remain single.
delivery charges of the first three children and a
$20,000 tax rebate was also offered for the fourth
child born after 1 January 1988.

Rebates were given for the third child and a


monthly subsidy to working mothers for each of the
first four children attending approved childcare
centres to make raising children more affordable.

Other Pro-Family To address the concerns of the high cost of raising However, these methods are not very successful
Measures children and the lack of suitable childcare as the number of children born per woman
arrangements, the government introduced: continued to decrease.
o Equalised medical benefits where mothers
could also claim medical benefits for their Many newly married couples continued to have
children. only one or two children and a sizeable number of

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o A 5-day work week for the Civil Service was Singaporeans either married late and had no
also implemented to allow for better work- children or chose to remain single.
life balance.
o An income tax relief of $3,000 (Grandparent
Caregiver Relief) was given if a grandparent
is helping the couple take care of their child.
o Maternity leave was also extended from
eight weeks to twelve weeks.
Attracting In order to enhance its competitiveness while Foreign talent would not only boost the quality of
Foreign Talent awaiting for pro-family measures to show positive manpower in Singapore, but it would also create
results, the government began to attract foreign more jobs and increase productivity.
talent.
This benefits Singapore as Singapore society
In 1989, the immigration policy was relaxed to becomes more cosmopolitan and Singapores
attract foreign talent with skills that Singapore culture is further enriched.
needed. Easier entry into Singapore, subsidised
housing and an attractive education package for Furthermore, each foreign talent and their family
children were offered to foreign talent willing to members who choose to make Singapore their
work in Singapore. home is an immediate addition to Singapores
population numbers.
The government also hoped that these foreigners
would develop an attachment to Singapore and
take up permanent residence or citizenship.

Analysis of Measures to Promote Population Growth after the 1980s

The Graduate Mothers Three or More If You Can Other Pro-Family Measures Attracting Foreign Talent
Scheme Afford It
Was not successful as less Not very successful as the Not very successful as the More successful as foreigners

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educated people felt number of children born per number of children born per and their families are a direct
discriminated against and felt woman continued to decrease. woman continued to decrease. add on to the population
that they would be left out Many newly married couples Many newly married couples numbers of Singapore.
under the policy. Furthermore, continued to have only one or continued to have only one or
the policy was scrapped after two children and a sizeable two children and a sizeable
one year. number of Singaporeans either number of Singaporeans either
married late and had no married late and had no
children or chose to remain children or chose to remain
single. single.

Phase III: Preparing for an Ageing Population

Factors: (Impact of an Ageing Population)


Economic Impact
Social Impact

Economic Impact
With an ageing population, there will be fewer young people in the population to maintain the workforce. Singapores
workforce will thus become increasingly older and in time to come many will retire. This will result in a less competitive
workforce which may not be attractive to investors keen to invest in Singapore. The economy will also be affected in
terms of active economic contribution as the retirees are no longer contributing to income tax and CPF. There will be a
resulting strain on the young to maintain the ageing population.

Social Impact
The number of older people will be proportionately larger. This means that the country will have to allocate more
budget to social services to maintain the ageing population who will need more healthcare facilities. More resources
like day care centres, old folks home, community hospitals and even housing facilities like studio apartments and lifts
on every level have to be built to cater to the needs of the elderly. This will certainly increase the burden of the
government who will need to reserve a large proportion of the countrys budget to maintain the ageing population.

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Furthermore, with less young people, there will be smaller security forces and Singapores defence force will be
weakened, making it vulnerable.

Therefore, due to the economic and social impacts of an ageing population, there was a need to prepare for and meet the
challenges of an ageing population in Singapore:

Factors:
Senior Citizens as Assets to Society
Many Helping Hands Approach
o Individual Responsibility
o Family Support
o Community Help
o Government Support

These are the strategies which are used to either PREPARE FOR or MEET the needs of an Ageing Population in
Singapore: (Content is the same, LINKS ARE DIFFERENT)

Factor PREPARING for an Ageing Population MEETING THE NEEDS of an Ageing


Population

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Senior Citizens as an Asset to To ensure that senior citizens remain contributing members to society,
Society opportunities are given to senior citizens to add value to public and private
organisations and help boost family life by contributing their valuable skills,
knowledge, talent and work experience.
Link: Link:
This helps senior citizens to This helps to meet their needs of
prepare for an ageing population an ageing population because it
because if they know that there are allows senior citizens to feel
opportunities created for them to useful and supplement the efforts
be assets to society, they will take of the family and the community
greater personal responsibility in to help them cope with the
preparing themselves for old age challenges of ageing.
so they may contribute positively
to society.

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Many Helping Hands Individual It is the responsibility of every individual to prepare himself for old age.
or Personal Resposibility Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by watching ones diet and exercising regularly will
assure one is fit and healthy and this can help reduce ailments in old age and
this can reduce ones medical expenses.
Singaporeans are also encouraged to learn about retirement planning by
attending talks and reading relevant materials on financial planning.

Link: Link:
This ensures they are prepared for By being self-sufficient in meeting
old age by being self-sufficient and his financial and medical needs
independent and thus reduce the the individual reduces the burden
burden placed on the government placed on the government to
allowing it to focus on other provide all the social and medical
developments of the country as services needed for an ageing
well. population. This thus helps the
government focus on other
developments of the country as
well.

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Many Helping Hands Family Family support also plays a part because strong and stable families bring about
social stability and harmony.

The government has introduced measures like Senior Citizens Week where the
elderly are encouraged to stay active in the family and community.

It also promotes a positive attitude towards ageing and the aged as it reminds
everyone in the family of their roles in creating an environment that is socially
conducive:
o Ensuring that the house is afe and has elderly-friendly facilities if possible
o Making the elderly feel appreciated by seeking their opinion and advice
on family issues / giving them a part to play in the family
o Providing financial support
o Being patient and showing understanding towards their emotional and
physical needs

Grandparents Day is also celebrated to bring families together to show their


appreciation for the elderly.
Link: Link:
The family provides elderly The family is also the main source
individuals with emotional, social of emotional, social and financial
and financial support and helps to support for the elderly individual.
promote a positive attitude By taking care of elderly members
towards ageing which better of the family, the family helps to
prepares the elderly individual to meet the needs for an ageing
cope with the challenges of population by reducing the burden
ageing. on the government.

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Many Helping Hands Community support is also important in meeting the needs of an ageing
Community population.
Some community organisations offer free health checks and organise
recreational activities for senior citizens.
Most of these organisations involve members of the community such as
housewives, students and retirees to help look after the needs of senior citizens
to help them remain physically, mentally and socially active.
Link: Link:
Therefore, the community Community support is an effective
complements and supports the way to meet the needs of an
efforts made by the government ageing population because the
and reduces its burden by community supplements the
providing emotional, social and family support by offering
financial support to elderly people individuals who have no families,
in their care emotional and social support.
Also, keeping them physically,
mentally and socially active will
slow down their physical and
mental deterioration and they will
be able to continue to thrive in
this society.

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Managing Helping Hands - The government has made laws and introduced measures to protect the
Government interests of the Senior citizens.
For example, the government came up with: (can choose one or two examples
to support your answer)
o Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme which ensures that part of a
persons income will be saved up. The savings in the Special Account are
for retirement, emergency and investment expenses while the money in
Medisave is to be used for medical expenses. At the age of 55, CPF
members can withdraw their savings with a minimum sum in the
retirement account and at the age of 62, they will receive a monthly sum
from this account.
o Tax Relief are given to individuals who take care of their elderly parents,
grandparents or great-grandparents or contribute to their elderly
dependents CPF Retirement accounts. Tax reliefs are also given to
grandparents who take care of their grandchildren.
o Public Housing Scheme where first time HDB buyers are given a
housing grant if they buy a flat near their parents flat.
o Tribunal for the Maintenance of parents where parents who are above
the age of 60 and incapable of supporting themselves can get the courts
help to get their children to support them.
Link: Link:
Government support is the best Government support is an
way to prepare for an ageing effective way to meet the needs of
population because it anticpated an ageing population because the
the challenges of ageing and put it government implement schemes
place policies and measures to that will support the individuals,
prepare Singaporeans financially, families and community cope with
emotionally and socially for their the financial, emotional and social
old age. needs of an ageing population.

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Analysis of Measures

Senior Citizens as Individual Family Support Community Support Government Support


Assets to Society Responsibility
Important because it Important because Important because the Important because the Most important
creates a positive when the individuals family can provide community because the
image of senior respond to the individuals with supplements the government engineers
citizens so as to governments emotional, social and family support by the necessary
encourage campaign of living a financial support. offering individuals programmes
Singaporeans to healthy lifestyle, they who have no families necessary for all the
adopt a more positive can help to save the emotional and social measures to meet the
attitude towards government a lot of support. challenges of an
ageing and the elderly. money which would ageing population.
otherwise have to be The government also
spent on social contributes the
services to take care necessary financial
of the ageing support needed to
population. help individuals,
families and the
community meet the
challenges of an
ageing population.

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