Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 April 2015
Singapore's long-serving People's Action Party (PAP) government suffered from a major electoral setback in the 2011 general election and subsequent by-elections. The high-growth population policy, underpinned by the influx of migrants and foreign workers, has strongly fuelled the groundswell of public discontent and is commonly perceived to have contributed to widening income disparities, wage stagnation, and cost of living pressures. This article attempts to make sense of the PAP leadership's dogged commitment to the high-growth population policy despite the electoral backlashes and policy criticisms by prominent public intellectuals and others closely connected to the PAP establishment. It considers Singapore's high-growth population policy and widening income disparity within the context of the authoritarian developmental state's shift away from the ‘growth with equity’ social compact. The article also examines the impact of widening income inequality and other policy lapses on the legitimacy of the PAP government as the clamor for a renewed social compact based on ‘growth with equity’ gathers momentum in the repoliticized polity.