Singapore is facing its most promising decade ahead

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew says Singapore is facing its most promising decade ahead.

He expects the economy to grow by up to 7 or 8 per cent over the next few years, barring a global economic downturn.

He was speaking at a dialogue session organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Economics Society of Singapore (ESS) on Friday.

Mr Lee told his 800-strong audience of industry players and economists that he was convinced that Singapore was heading into its most promising decade yet.

“We’re going to move into a new plateau, new platform. You can see it visibly before your eyes. In 5 years, it will be good. In 10 years, wonderful,” he said.

To a question about whether Singapore’s economic future could be affected by the structural issues it is facing now, Mr Lee pointed to the country’s special circumstances even as it strives to grow its economy.

“I’m always worried about Singapore’s future in the long term because it’s not a normal country. You know, population to resource, it’s just abnormal. You therefore have no room for making mistakes,” he said.

To make the economic system work, Mr Lee reiterated that it is important to have a strong team in place to govern the country.

“We bring the best to the top. They are not taken randomly. The first batch was a fluke of history. But thereafter, we had to replace ourselves,” he said.

When asked if he would have done anything different now, given the benefit of hindsight, Minister Mentor Lee said it is hard to change the cards as time has gone by.

But on the whole, things have turned out relatively well over the years, he said.

“It’s very difficult to be all perfect. I make decisions, given the circumstances of the time, given the best options at that time. I would say on the whole, we have not done as badly as we could have. We could have done slightly better,” he said.

The Singapore government expects GDP growth this year to come in at 4 to 6 per cent, which economists consider to be a decent performance given today’s challenging economic backdrop. – CNA/ir

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 11 Jul 2008

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