These are not easy times, but the Singapore government will “do everything necessary” to help local workers and citizens get through them.
This was the crux of Singapore Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day message, which was recorded and telecast at Gardens by the Bay.
He added: “The basic reality is that international economic conditions have shifted.”
“Around us, a storm is gathering. US-China relations are worsening, with intractable issues, deep suspicions and limited engagement between them.”
PM Lee added that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also affecting the world and Singapore.
The fact is before Russia invaded Ukraine, the pandemic had already disrupted supply chains, and inflation was already rising, he noted. But with the invasion has making things worse, food and energy prices are rising worldwide.
“Singapore will be buffeted by intense rivalry and tensions in the region around us,” he said.
“We must also brace ourselves and be psychologically prepared that, in the next decades, our region may not be as peaceful and stable as it has been thus far.
“What can we do about this? Staying united is key to Singapore’s survival – it is the only way to deal with challenges in an increasingly troubled world.”
What’s the Singapore gameplan, then?
Looking at the backdrop of his speech, PM Lee reflected on the need to beyond the short-term, and pointed how Gardens by the Bay took decades of planning and execution.
He noted that the very site was reclaimed decades ago, as part of a long-term plan to build a new Singapore downtown with a beautiful green public space.
“This is how we do things in Singapore – always daring to dream, setting our sights on the next frontier, and searching for better solutions and fresh possibilities.
“We look and plan ahead not just for the next five or 10 years, but for the next 30 or 50 years and beyond.”
As such, Singapore’s “deeper response” to these troubled times should be to transform our industries, upgrade skills, and raise productivity.
PM Lee added: “Then our wages can go up higher than inflation, and Singaporeans can earn more in real terms year by year!”
Ultimately, the goal is to “sustain economic progress and social resilience, investing in our people to reach their full potential, taking care of our elderly and vulnerable, fostering a common identity, and building a brighter future for our grandchildren and beyond”, he said.
PM Lee concluded: “COVID-19 will not be Singapore’s last crisis. More storms and turbulence lie ahead.
“But do not fear. As long as we stay united and resolute, we can keep our nation peaceful and secure, build a more prosperous economy, and forge an inclusive society that all of us can belong to and can be proud of, for many years to come!”
(Main Image Credit: Ministry of Communications and Information)