Parliamentary reply by DPM Wong Kan Seng on population mix
Mdm Halimah Yacob: To ask the Prime Minister in light of the 2010 Census which shows that the Malay share of the resident population has slipped from 14.8% in 1970 to 13.4% this year (a) what can be done to prevent the present population mix which has contributed to racial and religious harmony from further declining; and (b) what measures have been taken to attract Malay foreign talent into Singapore.
Mr Wong Kan Seng (for the Prime Minister): The share of Malays in the resident population, which includes citizens and permanent residents, has decreased marginally over the last forty years. In absolute terms, however, the Malay resident population has increased from 298,000 to 504,000 over the same period. If we only consider the citizen population, the share of Malays among the citizen population has grown from 14.1% in 1970 to 15.1% in 2010. Overall, they remain the second largest ethnic group following the Chinese.
The key factors influencing the population mix are fertility and immigration. While the Malay resident fertility rate has been declining in recent years, it has remained higher than that of the Chinese and Indians. As fertility rates for all ethnic groups have fallen below replacement levels, I encourage all Singaporeans to avail themselves of the measures supporting marriage and parenthood.
Nevertheless, reversing fertility trends will take time, and in the interim, immigration is necessary to augment our local population. We welcome immigrants of all ethnic groups who can contribute to our economy and integrate well into our society. At the same time we are careful not to allow the inflow of immigrants to upset the current mix of races among our population.