THE Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has responded to the Government's Population White Paper with a proposal that it believes will shrink the number of people here.

While both the White Paper and the Workers' Party alternative plan propose varying degrees of population growth over the next two decades, the SDP wants to reduce the 5.3 million people who are here now.

The 38-page paper provides six recommendations to present a "new approach" to Singapore's population challenges.

"What we are advocating is that the current population level of 5.3 million can and should be reduced because of all the current problems we are seeing," said SDP chief Chee Soon Juan at the launch of the paper at Bras Basah Complex.

"And if we don't take care of these problems right now, we are going to see them coming back to haunt us."

The release of SDP's paper comes a week after Parliament passed the White Paper on Population with a vote of 77 to 13.

Titled "Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future", it makes controlling immigration the focus of its alternative policy proposals.

Among them is a stringent points-based system to control the quality and quantity of foreign professionals called the Talent Track Scheme.

It would require all potential foreign job seekers to be assessed and given points based on a set of criteria, including age, number of dependants, qualifications and level of skill, in order to get permission to work here, get permanent resident status or citizenship.

This will be supplemented by what the party calls fair employment laws such as a minimum wage of $7 an hour and a tax on a foreign worker's income instead of a levy.

It says the measures may be able to reduce the number of low-skilled foreign workers from about 900,000 today, to 300,000 to 450,000 by 2020.

Another proposal in its paper is to develop a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) to be used alongside the conventional gross domestic product.

The Singapore GPI would measure the performance of a basket of indicators across economic, social, security and environmental needs.

Eventually the party believes it should also be used as a benchmark for ministerial and civil servant pay.

The paper was presented by party treasurer Vincent Wijeysingha and Mr Jeremy Chen, an SDP member and PhD candidate at the Department of Decision Sciences at the National University of Singapore.