A GREYING Singapore needs to keep its doors open to workforce talent, Nominated MP Tan Su Shan said yesterday.

Otherwise, it will lose its competitiveness at a time when other countries are fighting for the same pool of talent.

Singapore then risks going the way of Japan, which has lost a record number of jobs in manufacturing.

Said Ms Tan, managing director and group head of wealth management at DBS Bank: "Countries which face an ageing population (and) do not embrace labour mobility risk long-term deflation, and low job prospects.

"Rather than worry about immigration, shouldn't we worry about migration? Many young people I have spoken to have all mentioned migration as an option."

Capital and business may also flee if Singapore is divided by politics. "Our success is built on open trade flows with the world," she said. "If we allow politics or inflation to cause social divide, or the rest of the world starts to perceive us as unstable, we can expect capital and business to move out."

Ms Tan said the White Paper, for instance, has "amplified the social and political divide".

The angst and frustration among citizens could have been avoided if the Government had first focused on improving infrastructure to fix current bottlenecks before revealing the population projection figure of 6.9 million in 2030, she added.

"If these extreme views continue to fester and the fundamental concerns are not addressed, this lack of balance could destabilise Singapore."