The way forward for Singapore is to ride the wave of globalisation and use the power of free markets, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday (26 Oct).
Speaking at the Labour Movement’s National Delegates’ Conference opening dinner, PM Lee warned that Singapore cannot resist globalisation or hold back the progress of technology, otherwise its economy will stagnate and workers will become uncompetitive.
While Singapore is today a developed economy, “the truth is we have not solved for all time the problem of how to make a living for ourselves” and have to keep looking for new solutions, he said.
He added that the state has a role to play in preventing monopolies from forming, for instance, and helping those displaced or left behind by a market-based system.
"We've been strengthening our safety nets, giving our people better protection in a less stable economic environment," Mr Lee said.
He gave examples like the Progressive Wage Model, aimed at helping low-income workers such as security guards and cleaners upgrade their skills, and the MediShield Life universal medical insurance scheme.
The Government is also reviewing its economic strategies to keep businesses and workers competitive, make the most use of the foreign workforce, and introducing SkillsFuture to help Singaporeans upgrade.
“If we compare ourselves to other countries, Singapore is well-placed to tackle these problems and I think we can look forward to our future with confidence,” said Mr Lee. “We have an ethos which is outward-looking, [and we are] a tech-savvy society.”
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Source: “Skills upgrading and strong safety nets 'key to tackling job worries'” (The Straits Times, 27 October 2015) and “Ride globalisation wave to move S’pore forward: PM” (TODAY, 27 October 2015)