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Singapore election

Singapore race gets heated over immigration and '10m population'

Foreign minister accuses opponent of peddling falsehood in live debate

Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, right, listens to Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan in a debate on July 1, in this screenshot from the city-state's Channel 5 via CNA. 

SINGAPORE -- A terse exchange in a Singaporean election debate has brought simmering tensions over immigration to the surface, forcing the ruling People's Action Party to fend off opposition claims that it wants a dramatic increase in foreign workers.

The spat broke out during a televised debate Wednesday night, when the chief of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party suggested that Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had entertained the idea of nearly doubling the city-state's population to 10 million, from 5.7 million as of June 2019.

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