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Lee Kuan Yew warns of ‘enormous’ problems if Singaporeans continue not to make babies

Posted by temasektimes on August 12, 2012

As expected, Singapore’s Supreme Leader Lee Kuan Yew has issued his traditional ‘lecture’ to Singaporeans during a speech made at the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru National Day celebration dinner on Saturday.

Speaking in both Mandarin and English, Lee said Singapore’s birth rates have been steadily declining, stressing that Singaporeans are not reproducing themselves.

Giving some simple statistics, Mr Lee said the Chinese reproduction rate is 1.08 – with two Chinese becoming one in the next generation. For the Indians, the rate is 1.09, and for the Malays – 1.64.

“If we go on like that, this place will fold up, because there’ll be no original citizens left to form the majority, and we cannot have new citizens, new PRs to settle our social ethos, our social spirit, our social norms. So my message is a simple one. The answer is very difficult but the problems, if we don’t find the answers, are enormous,” said Mr Lee.

Singapore’s declining birth rate can be attributed partly to sky-rocketing property prices, rampant inflation and stagnant wages which caused young Singaporeans to delay marriage and starting a family.

A former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew was widely regarded as the founding father and the undisputed Supreme Leader of Singapore by his subservient subjects, one of the most ‘docile’ people in the world after the North Koreans.


59 Responses to “Lee Kuan Yew warns of ‘enormous’ problems if Singaporeans continue not to make babies”

  1. lee david said

    first they said ” u get A FINED for more then 2, then they ONLY wanted BABIES from GENIUS ” now they says ” u dont produce, we will IMPORT” hello, everything u say loh, make up ur MIND!!!!

    • seluj said

      Which century are you living in? With your cretin like approach to policies, you’ll push Singapore backwards even further than north Korea. Policies have to change with time, and the PAP recognises that. Go find some kumpong in the backwaters of Malaysia if you are confused. Time becomes more frozen there.

      • josh said

        Malaysia has a corrupted government thats correct. But still we are living happily within the country without worrying bad attitude incomers/new citizens or whatever. Comment on your own country and leave others alone. fool

      • Kaching said

        at least malaysia support its malay citizen wholehearted even though it is very not fair to chinese, indian malaysian. but they dont open their gate super big, big to let FT in. In singapore, what support you have. nothing, nada, elek, meiyo, takda, zero.

      • Playfair said

        Typical PAP and Local Newspapers always want to include Malaysia in their bashing.
        Malaysia cannot be bothered about Singapore, their News Papers has nothing to report about Singapore.
        Just mind your own business we in Singapore has big issues that need to be settled.

  2. wall street 9 said

    If PAP Govt is sincerely serious in containing population decline, it should look at some flawed policies that impede environments for conducive procreation. Most important of all are two policies – affordable housing & employment security. With unabated influx of foreign talents, housing & employment are vulnerable & will remain much in every young adults’ minds. If that is happening, procreation will be the last thing in their mind.

    • seluj said

      My Singaporean neighbour has 5 children in their 3 room flat, and they’re happy. It’s called bring committed to non materialism and making the best of life.

      • God said

        Their children how old now ? You really think they would be happy when they grow up to be teenagers ? Hello, 5 teenagers living with their parents in a 3 room flat in modern Singapore. Some sleep living room ?

      • IronMan said


        Must think openly and not be near-sighted like the PAPigs. God is very right.

  3. james goh said

    Yes, this problem is real. Singaporeans should heed the advice by Lwe Kuan Yew that just make more babies. indeed it is a real joy to have our own baby than import one. we can overcome the difficulty in raising up a child in singapore, Lah!!!

  4. spotlessleopard said

    Firstly : He should admit and apologise to the Nation for his Eugenics Policy that caused the shrinkage of population…and ask for forgiveness from those He actually caused to be ligated thereby causing them to be infertile…and then the hapjazard implementation of MASS importing of Foreginers…causing the current problems in Housing, Medical Services,, public transportation, unemployment of older singaporeans, public parks being overcrowded, schools over runned by foreigners, unahppiness of the native population…..He should be brought to trial

    • leo said

      brought to some kangaroo trial ? and this is possible only if he outlives his children and grandchildren………what do you think?

    • IronMan said

      @ Spotlessleopard

      Sorry bro/sis. The word “apologise” is NOT in LKY’s dictionary. Instead he is able to say, “It is an honest mistake, so let’s move on!”

  5. tryme said

    if u keep import ..more and more … 2016 GE POOR SINGAPOREAN WERE EXPORT U OUT …..

  6. tintin said

    This is where I don’t agree with the current government. If you feel you can’t afford it, don’t give birth.
    Without a high population demand for food, housing, infrastructure etc will go down. That means people can’t demand high prices for HDB because there won’t be any buyers in 50 years time. They will be able to get jobs because there is no one to fill it. They will also be able to get higher salaries simply because employers can’t find anybody.
    Yes, certain things will suffer like retail (nobody is buying things), CPF payouts (more money going out to survivors drawing from CPF life) but we can solve these separately. Whoever is left in the next generation should enjoy a better life because of all these factors combined.

  7. sleepy said

    sounds more like another gimmick to profit from property prices and etc… was high population necessary for growth in the 1st place? look at the upgrading and downgrading of flat policies that khaw and other ministers had been talking about… seems so weird…

  8. NaBey said

    Hello govt, pls make adoption more feasible. Many young adults like us were fighting for a better job, better pay since graduated from uni. Finance burden forbid me from having more than 1 child. Now in my late forties, financially independent but physically forbids me from having 2 more kids unless my wife allow me to have mistress.
    I wanted to adopt babies, treat them as my own but too much red tapes around.

  9. SuperDuper said

    Hufff….it’s quite simple.

    The PAP is very afraid of the declining population because, a smaller population means less profit for the government.

    But they don’t understand that a smaller population also means lesser cost in running the government.

    So, when they increase the population, the costs of running the country goes up,
    and so, they will need to grow the population even more to support the government.
    AND meanwhile… the costs keep growing because of the larger population.

    What will happen when we reach the maximum population???

    We will become like India, where the population has maxed out many times over, so that the government has become poor…

    If all this importing causes a sudden population explosion, the government will go broke.

    So eventually this will be the death of the PAP.

    • Naivety said

      How can PAP die when they have monopolistic control of the entire Parliament for almost half a century already without any competition whatsoever from anybody???

      And Singapore probably is the only ‘democratic’ country in the whole world that has a single/sole political party governing the island for almost 50 years already & still going strong!!!

  10. On the fence said

    When I see my nieces and colleagues children becoming “study slaves’ and the non existent childhood they have; attending endless enrichments classes and facing pressure from parents and school, long queue at child psychologists clinics….. My decision was made. Forget procreation. No more suffering kids.
    If the government wants the nation to procreate, it is useless to drive statistics, hardcore messages and give incentives. Provide the RIGHT Eco system. We want to reproduce happy children in a happy environment with a happy childhood. I’m not interested in answering some national call to reproduce slaves of economic digits

    • Wong said

      Very wise decision ! Why bring them here when we know we can ‘t give happiness to them ?

    • Wildplanets said

      Spot on! with such high cost of living and depressed wages it is not economically viable to have kids unless you want us average Singaporeans to procreate without thinking of giving the child a future and let the state handle, i.e. the Government pays for all the children’s expenses??

  11. Naivety said

    The old hag is saying this lame excuse so that he could mass import another 5 Millions PRCs into Singapore’s shore
    for sure lah!!!

    • gohkengswee said

      The old fart created the problem which is “stop at two” policy to begin with.

      He then created the next problem putting seat warmer GohCT at the helm who gave majority in spore the swiss cost of living instead of swiss standard of living.

      Not done yet, old fart next put his useless son to solve problems, but instead of solving problems, the useless son surrounds himself with 7 useless ministers in his PMO, 1 SM, 2 DPMs and countless number of stooges, not forgetting old fart mentoring the whole bunch of them.

      Now the old fart has the cheek to warn us about the enormous problems of not procreating. Screw him!

      The biggest problem is actually having a govt that cannot see there will be problems with their ill thought policies.
      The next biggest problem is a govt that denies there is even a problem.

      ps: 5 million PRCs will end PAP rule and LKY’s grandchildren will end up serving them. Maybe karma will let him live to see this.

  12. Julian said

    If Temasek Times is ever to be regarded seriously for its journalism, your writers need to discard the subjective statements and opinions they are becoming very fond of making in a news article. For eg, the first two words “As expected”, and the entire last paragraph. Which incidentally was repeated in its entirety from a previous post.

    • juli said

      Your comments itself is subjective and if you want to be regarded seriously, write a piece on the above topic. Surely TT will give you the space for it.

  13. P Koh said

    People are more self-centered compared to past generations where many children can mean security in old age. Now, it is so expensive to raise chldren especially cost of education from child care upwards are causing concern and the one-child policy therefore naturally becomes the norm. Also the younger generation wants to enjoy life a bit and travel abroad for holidays and there is little time or attention paid to procreation. Bringing down the cost of living and making education especially Tertiary education affordable would, I beleive see a shift in mindset for more babies. Time to focus on giving to the locals instead of importing students from abroad at the citizens’ expense for we can never guarantee that when foreign students who finished their education here, will stay on to make Singapore their home or migrate to Western countries for less competitve living conditions. This policy has been in place for some years now and the government should be able to show what outcomes this policy have so far been produced. I wonder whether the millions expended were well-spent and whether it has achieved the desired result.

  14. bb said

    Learn from Australia

    and baby bonus

    and all medical for the mother and baby are free- send youtr scholar minster and learn or unlearn


    His reacting is slow, slow like a zombie. Unsteady too. He has no inner strength to speak faster left along louder. Look at his eyelids, they look tired. He is trying hard to bite a bullet but missed. He is repairing the damanges that were caused by his pinky son. Yes, he knows they are beyond repair but his determination tells him to go on and on. Unfortunately at this current situation, nothing is beyond rectified. Try, try but failed trememdously. His times are up. Sooner his maker will retrieved him back for judgement.

  16. kaypoh said

    Yeah import me a Comfort woman, after all we oredi have Comfort taxi, employ me full time to make babies, then gahmen take care of babies, ohkay! then I make babies…. later when babies grow up please “chope” them a place in parliament, ok?

    • mahbok tan said

      I tot arh many SGporean NS guy always like to go for “live firing” overseas……why don’t they just do their firing at home ground(geylang) and we can have a special place for their productive results…..!!!
      Home ground can have many FT specially dedicated for our NS man to do live firing….since we already noted that viet , pinoy,thaiger,PRC and Indomie oso have ……so make good use la…isn’t these cheaper faster and productive….???

      So wat du U tink… minister….!!!

  17. Playfair said

    He was the one who started the low birth rate with his stupid policy.
    Now he wants to do the reverse.
    Sorry damage done. Bring down costs and look at reducing pressure at thye educational level.

  18. Robert said

    Singaporeans have less and less babies because of “disincentives” resulting from PAP policies and decisions. The “enormous” problems facing Singapore were created by these policies and decisions. The PAP is The problem. The issue will of low birth rate can only be solved only AFTER there is regime change (throw out PAP) in Singapore.

  19. Ron said

    Many Singaporeans above 40 are driving taxis. Some have university education, worked in managerial positions too. So, if Singaporeans think… I am also be reduced to driving a taxi in 10 to 15 years time…. will they want more babies? Maybe not even want to any children.

    Spore does not have any social welfare system. And it can be harsh if one loses his income and may also lose his apartment under default. The government needs to look deeper into the anxieties, the frustrations, etc. It is survival of the fittest here

    • Richard said

      Why whine and whimper? I have seen it coming many years ago that life will be tough in Singapore. I ventured out and left. Now happily settled in the States and enjoying the life I always dream of. I remember that we only live once. Making the best of it before I regret.

  20. CWS said

    Rename as Chinapore…..

  21. gonggong said

    A bit too late right. Why in the world did you import so many people onto our tiny island, driving up prices and reducing space for everyone, when you want us to pro-create. Not everyone live in a mansion with amah and jaga like you.

    • Julie Ong said

      Excellent point, Gonggong. You are actually pretty bright!

      Mr Lee Kuan Yew should shut his ‘trap’. He is the one who promoted the ‘Stop At Two’ children policy. Now he wants the better educated Singaporeans to have children. More of them. My simple
      question: What’s wrong with the not so educated? No children for them?
      Just think: if everyone is a doctor, lawyer, engineer or generally highly
      trained/qualified then who is going to do the ordinary jobs like waiters, clerks, drivers and so on? We need balance. We must respect/appreciate all irrespective of position.

      Mr Lee should take things easy. Leave the political scene with his dignity intact. In fact this problem of low birth rate is largely due to his meddling in the personal lives of Singaporeans in the first place. It is hypocritical of him to now push the blame on us, the hapless citizens. Not to worry. Leave him be. Just ignore his babbling.

      Inducements in varied ways and kind should be given to the citizens to encourage them to have children. Crucial ones would be housing and secure employment. I am actually delighted/proud of my fellow Singaporeans for not having too many children because ‘we don’t want to have them suffer by bringing them into the world’. Therefore, we should assist and enable you to have more children if that is the matter of priority through help in child care, work/life balance, etc., etc.

      Inspite of the difficulties we now face largely the making of this incompetent government we should not be too alarmed. Things will change. For the better.

      Meantime we still have to communicate with the government and let them know our concerns. They must listen. And act. Not to do so will exacerbate the problems we are currently having.

      Cheer up! Don’t worry, be happy. Keep at it ……. and things should turn out right.

  22. Baby factory said

    It takes a whole village to raise a child , in our ‘ you die your business , no money no talk ‘ kind of society , how to have children ? even should there be children how are they to survive till adulthood with this ridiculous high cost of living and stress and lack of space ????

    Sigh 😦

    • P Koh said

      You got it right on. I had always felt that our great Leader has the view that when you are old and not productive, you are regarded as useless and that there is no space for people like us and “you die your business” is very apt. He forgot that there is a wealth of experience that can be tapped from older folks and this area has not been seriously explored. That is why retirement village and health care are never on the priority list for old folks who have outlived their ‘usefulness’.

  23. Chan JY said

    Well-educated Singaporeans expect a certain minimum standard of living and quality of life. You can’t blame them. But high incomes are cancelled out by high cost of living, long working hours and the need to “upgrade”. On top of that, unrealistic standards set by our schools also take valuable time away from parents and the family. How can one reasonably expect couples to bring forth a life (or another life) and lower their standard
    of living or their quality of life? All for the sake of the “country”?

    And I thought the dwindling numbers of native Singaporeans was never an issue with the folks who keep converting foreigners into new citizens.

  24. sure or not! said

    just admit that you made the wrong call back then. then we’ll move on from there.

  25. Cavin said

    Well, I think cost is the main problem and cause of it.

    1. Wife is pregnant and need to see doctor for the check up. Every visit will be hundreds. Can this cost be taken care by government?

    2. When giving birth, the cost again. Is government able to absorb cost of giving birth? All cost at public hospital is being absorb. 100 %. Even in icu For private hospital, it could be 70-80% being absorb.

    3. Education. Can government take the cost of child from nursery up to secondary? Or even up to poly or even university? Seems like our education funds cannot be paid for a lot of things and teachers will ask me for cash for this and that ie printing fees, accessment paper fees etc. even for cca, because outside instructor are hired, I am required to pay a fee for that. If things are at default, parents are not required to pay a single cent, things might be different.

    My dad used to tell me how he maintain the family back in the 1980s. Where he earn $1200 and able to pay for hdb, my education etc etc. but is it possible now? Now I feel life is difficult when I am earning $3000. Indeed, cost of living is different.

    Size of hdb. For a 4room hdb flat, wonder how big can the family nucleus be? Considering about elder parents, and that leave only one room for kids. And that one room, able to take 2-3 kids sleeping and studying? Seems like hdb already preplanned our family nucleus for us.

    Wonder if famiy nucleus can be bigger if our 4 room hdb flat cost 150k? I paid 325k for one. And now I need to be always being in the work force and work my way to repay it in 30 years.

    Think there is a whole string of problems which we had previously and now leading to our low birth rates issues. Starting a family is easy but maintaining one is difficult. Even time is required to coach the kid to study as nowadays, school give a lot of work for parents to interact with kids. So my nighttime is all for kids as I believe since I bring him to this world, I need to teach him to be a useful person.

    There might be a lot of grant etc but how many knows and bother to apply them? If things are at default, all taken care of by government, things might be different.

    Enough said. Let’s see what our government and the cabinet ministers will do for our Singapore future inhabitants.

  26. wikileaks said

    LKY, you do not have to worry about Singapore. Focus on your next world.

  27. So if this downward trend continues, the number of Malays and Indians will overtake the Chinese as they are more fertile….

    • ah seng said

      5 miilion PRCs and millions to spare from the same source will ensure it will never happen. The PAP buggers will learn soon enough the PRC have this ambition to lord over them. They have already up the ante in the battle for S China Sea islands.
      Do you recall history of Spore in WW2 ? Did’nt LKY served the Japs ?
      By bringing in millions of PRCs, it can be deemed as serving PRC.
      Is’nt Spore a very strategic location ?

  28. SingaporeBoiBoi said

    Dear Sir

    So glad and relief to see you emerge at NDP. We wish you good health always.

    With all due respect, there are some points I do not agree with your statement, in that if the govt is able to create a conducive environment for pro-creation and Singaporean do not pro-create, it would be right to say that we have to make the responsible choice.

    However, if the conditions are not conducive, how then can Singaporeans make the “responsible” choice when the conditions do not allow us?

    Perhaps the question isn’t whether Singaporeans want to replace themselves but whether the govt want Singaporeans to replace themselves hard enough?

    I also noted in your statement, “educated men and women has to decide…”. May I understand your context of “educated”? If the education and social system are well in place, can’t we nurture children of the less educated to be the smarts of the next generation as well? Perhaps in a generation or 2, these children may have a chance of becoming the educated parents for the subsequent generations?

    If the birthrate has not improved for decades, is it not right to say that the govt has failed in its pro-creation policies? Do the policies require an overhaul?

    • Julie Ong said

      Hello, SingaporeBoiBoi, I love it! Fair, well thought out and reasonable.

      In particular the second last paragraph where you mentioned nurturing the children of lesser educated parents to their fullest potential. This, I will always believe is the right way to go. Sadly, Mr Lee Kuan Yew is a believer in Eugenics. He’s entitled to his beliefs, but I think he’s sick in the head! Certainly, one has to have ‘something’ in order to be smart. But you’ve got to have something more (education and training) to attain the relevant qualification or competency. If Nature is all that is required then the gifted/talented children do not need any schooling. That, to me is the silliness of the argument that graduates breeds smarter children. Just on account of their better education. Anyway, this is an irrelevancy to the current PAP government. The present emphasis is money (GDP growth) even to the extent of hurting the citizens. This incensed many Singaporeans, particularly those whose jobs have been taken over by the cheaper imported foreigners. Social discontent now is self evident.

      It is no wonder then that because of the pressure of working life plus the high cost of living people are not having more children.

      I believe this government should be gotten rid of unless they can show some improvements within say the next 3 to 5 months. Their performance to date is certainly dismal. Rub it in with their million dollars pay and the ‘peasants’ are enraged!!

      As a proud Singaporean I would dearly love to see Singapore continue to progress and prosper and the citizenry comfortable and happy. And yes, certainly more babies!

      We are not there yet.

  29. pngkueh_forever said

    The enormous problems started when we were forced to embrace the stop at two policy.

  30. Too many issues to overcome said

    I think most people have understood why Singaporeans aren’t having many kids- too crowded, too expensive, both parents need to work. Part of the crowding is the Government’s fault- since they almost doubled the island’s resident population, making it even more crowded than before.

    If Singaporeans do have more kids, will the Government then kid out more FT to make space?

    I doubt the 2nd Generation PAP’s will make the hard decisions to do this.

  31. IronMan said

    Hello! Earth to LKY! Hope u r receiving this message in the same planetary system and time zone ie planet Earth n the year 2012. High cost of living, housing, transport, education etc + low wages = low production of babies.

    Do u receive this equation loud and clear? Roger n out.

  32. Bopian said

    Mr Lee, when you asked us to have more babies, did you think of the cost for supporting each child? I have 3 children and lived overseas for about 10years. Thought of returning to Singapore when my son gets into NUS. But guess what, despite doing quite well in International Sch overseas, his application for NUS got rejected. I have no choice but to send him overseas for further study. Will he want to return to Sg to work after being rejected? It’s a big “NO” he said.
    I can foresee my other 2 children stand very little chance to get into SG universities as they are not very ‘smart’ according to Sg education system. Which means I’ll have to pay more for their education. I should have just stop at 1 or 2 kids and can retire early.

  33. sillyguy said

    Another wayang and reason to double the intake of FTs la…. Honestly, do you think they really care? They are Singapore Inc. Money and NOT Citizen come 1st.

  34. sillyguy said

    People are like ants….if the living condition is favorable and food plentiful, the ants colony will grow bigger. Conversely, if the conditions are not and food are hard to come by, the ants colony shrink and the nest is eventually abandoned.

    Yes more ants can be introduced to the original nest….but these new ants will also face the same problems and will either perish or moves on, If the environment and conditions does not sustain them.

    Pls change the enviroment and the conditions to sustain us natives… WAKE UP and Stop the wayang!!!

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