SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party's (WP's) proposal to freeze the foreign- worker population will "throw a spanner" in the Government's plans to build 200,000 new homes, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday.
Last month, Mr Khaw had revealed in a blog post that some 200,000 housing units will be constructed - 80,000 private properties, 10,000 executive condominiums and about 110,000 public homes - by 2016.
Yesterday, he said in Parliament that in the next few years, new areas in Punggol North, Tampines and Bidadari would be available for public housing.
Giving his take on the Population White Paper, Mr Khaw said: "To complete the ramped-up construction programme, I do need more construction workers, more than currently available.
"That is why I was shocked by WP's recommendation yesterday: That we freeze the foreign- worker population, immediately and for eight years.
"I will not be able to deliver the new flats as promised to 200,000 families. On behalf of these families, I ask the WP to please rethink your idea."
Since the Population White Paper was released last week, a lot of public attention has been focused on the population projection of 6.9 million by 2030.
With Singapore's ageing population and shrinking labour force, Mr Khaw said the country will be facing a crisis in the next 10 to 15 years, "which is not far away" .
This will lead to fewer job opportunities for the young, he said, and not enough health-care workers to care for the old.