Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledgedes that the government lacked foresight in its population planning policies.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has related the challenges the government faces in its planning of policies for the future of Singapore.

He was speaking at a wide-ranging Perspectives forum on governance organized by the Institute of Policy Studies.

PM Lee said Singapore is dealing with the issues of housing and transport today because the government does not have complete foresight of events.

He was responding to a question from a participant on how some 'policy missteps' happened.

Mr Lee also said the strains on the population didn't show up progressively nor gradually, but suddenly.

Explaining the government's initial decision to boost population numbers, the Prime Minister reminded participants of the situation Singapore faced entering the start of a new century.

Starting with the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Singapore economy was going into recession.

Economic growth was slow, population growth was also slow and foreign workers started to leave.

PM Lee said by 2005, 2006, things started looking up and he made the decision to make up for lost time by growing the population and boosting the economy.

And he acknowleged that infrastructure, like housing and transport, didn't keep up with that growth.

Prime Minister Lee also tackled a number of issues which included whether the wide-ranging social nets in Singapore would encourage citizens to become more dependent and if Singapore needs more space for discussion. 

Mr Lee is of the view that the government needs to do more but he wants the government to be helping from behind the scenes, as opposed to Singaporeans expecting the government to jump in all the time. 

On why there is still a need to moderate social space involving social media for example, Mr Lee said the online community in particular is not moderating itself. 

Extreme views are put out and responses and disapprovals are also extreme. 

So Mr Lee said this cannot be left to itself.