Large crowd braves rain to denounce Singapore population plan
SINGAPORE - At least 4,000 people braved showers to stage one of Singapore's largest ever protests on Saturday, a further sign of discontent over immigration policies and growing income disparities under the long-ruling People's Action Party (PAP).
Parliament in the highly regimented city state last week approved a white paper that said the island's population of 5.3 million could grow by as much as 30 percent to 6.9 million by 2030, mostly through foreign workers to offset a chronically low birth rate.
Critics say the island is already too crowded, with a population density exceeding that of rival Asian business center Hong Kong. They blame the flood of foreigners over the past decade for stagnant wages, crowded trains and rising prices that put housing beyond the reach of the average Singaporean and say further inflows would change the very nature of the island.