MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew 'has not quite been sold' on the idea of a 6.5 million population size in Singapore.
Instead, he projects for Singapore an optimum population size of five to 5.5 million for Singapore.
He said on Friday: 'I have not quite been sold on the idea that we should have 6.5 million.'
'I think there's an optimum size for the land that we have, to preserve the open spaces and the sense of comfort.'
MM Lee was speaking at think-tank Institute of Policy Studies's conference 'Scenerios for the Next Generation', which seeks to gaze into the crystal ball and discuss what Singapore will look like come 2030.
Speakers, including Cabinet ministers, academics and journalists, held forth on subjects such as how the economy should evolve, cultural trends, and the Singapore identity.
Over an hour-long dialogue with some 900 participants, MM Lee touched on issues ranging from whether Singapore has the talent pool to sustain a two-party political system, to the widening income divide.
One question, posed by the moderator, diplomat Tommy Koh, was whether Singapore is guilty of overbuilding.
A year ago, the Government had announced that it is making plans to accommodate a population of 6.5 million people - up from the current 4.5 million - in the next 40 to 50 years.
This sparked off worries about overcrowding.
Read the full story in Saturday's edition of The Straits Times.