Lee Kuan Yew: Singapore’s low birth rate not my fault
Lee disclaims responsibility for the results of his own policy. Malay Mail:
Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew has denied his policies were to blame for the city’s low birth rate, and said financial handouts for young couples would not solve the problem.
In excerpts from a new book to be launched later today, Lee insisted that the reluctance of couples to have more children was the result of changed lifestyles and mindsets, which no amount of financial perks could alter.
Despite a slew of so-called “baby bonuses” to encourage couples to have children, Singapore’s total fertility rate last year stood at 1.20 children per woman, far below the 2.1 needed to maintain the native-born population.
The former prime minister, who retired from politics in 2011 and turns 90 next month, rejected as “absurd” suggestions that his “Stop At Two” children campaign in the 1970s played a part in the decline of current fertility rates.
Fearing that a population explosion would hit growth and overwhelm infrastructure, Lee’s government instituted the tough measures to persuade young couples to have only two children.
The government legalised abortion, encouraged voluntary sterilisation and introduced disincentives for larger families wanting to live in public housing.
Large monetary incentives would only have a “marginal effect” in correcting the low fertility rate, he added.
“I cannot solve the problem, and I have given up,” he wrote in his book entitled One Man’s View of the World.
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