POSTED 13 Aug 2019 - 08:41

As Singapore turns 54, what is the most pressing issue facing the country?

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How can we ensure a bright future for Singapore?

Top Response

Helen Ng, Chief Executive Officer, Lock+Store

Singapore is at a critical juncture where the younger generation is calling for more open discussions. Tertiary students also have specific anxieties related to long-term job and housing prospects. If their concerns are not addressed, we could end up with a key demographic group that feels...


Helen Ng, Chief Executive Officer, Lock+Store
13 Aug 2019 - 08:46

Singapore is at a critical juncture where the younger generation is calling for more open discussions. Tertiary students also have specific anxieties related to long-term job and housing prospects. If their concerns are not addressed, we could end up with a key demographic group that feels profoundly disillusioned, which is the situation in Hong Kong right now. We need to give young people platforms to discuss social issues candidly in a mutually respectful environment. We cannot afford to let negative feelings simmer.

Ana Dhoraisingam, CEO, Singapore and Head of Institutional and Wealth Management Sales, Southeast Asia, PineBridge Investments
13 Aug 2019 - 08:45

The most pressing issue facing Singapore is how we maintain unity as a nation, in the face of rising challenges. Global trade tensions, rising protectionism and increased geo-political risks around the world have now become the new-normal. The consequences of these will bring their own set of challenges to Singapore and our future. At the heart of Singapore's success has been our strong economic growth, political stability and a multi-racial population that has played a meaningful role in delivering both. Unity and solidarity as a nation will help us collectively pull though these challenging times.

Seah Kian Peng, CEO, NTUC FairPrice
13 Aug 2019 - 08:45

In the face of economic, security and climatic problems, I would say, perhaps surprisingly, that our main challenge is social - it lies in maintaining unity, harmony. The multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-religious society that is Singapore is our most precious asset.

What we have done this far was only possible because of our will to work together. A community which works together, stays together and today the social compact remains strong between government and its people.

However, there are many forces at play that threaten to weaken the ties between us which we need to resist and overcome.

We must dare to define and chart our own journey as we learn from what other societies and countries are going through.

It is sometimes easier to say what NOT to do - but that does not give guidance on what the right course of action could be. The problems are many and large - so we need to muster every Singaporean to work together to solve them.

Sebastian Mueller, COO & Co-Founder, MING Labs
13 Aug 2019 - 08:44

The biggest concern of Singapore should be the restructuring of the economy, rather than GDP growth. Many issues of the present system need to be addressed: Moving from a system of accumulation to a system that also distributes well. Moving from a system of unproductive (eg purely financial) to a system of productive (eg innovation) growth. Moving from a system that draws down on natural resources, to a system that reduces waste, reuses materials and replenishes nature. A new structure is needed globally to face the 21st century confidently - and Singapore as a strong nation-state can lead the way.

Praba Thiagarajah, Founder & Group CEO, Basis Bay
13 Aug 2019 - 08:44

As Singapore turns 54, the increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment from the US-China trade war is a pressing issue to monitor. Singapore will need to brace itself to weather impending storms as global uncertainties continue to persevere from the trade tensions which show no signs of subsiding.

Singapore must focus its efforts on building its digital economy and maintaining its position as a safe hub for companies seeking investment opportunities in the region. Singapore is positioned favourably in terms of its capacity to innovate as well as its technologically advanced IT infrastructures which are integral parts of its business culture. Protecting its digital assets and continuing its journey towards a digital nation will help sustain its position as a regional hub.

Fostering closer ties with neighbouring Asean countries would be beneficial in offering a comprehensive, minimal risk digital multi-hub to investors.

Max Loh, Managing Partner, Singapore and Brunei, Ernst & Young LLP
13 Aug 2019 - 08:43

Amid all forms of economic uncertainty, wider geopolitical developments and digital disruption, building and maintaining trust among government, businesses, institutions and citizens is arguably the most pressing issue facing any country. For Singapore, as a small and multiculturally diverse country, the imperative to maintain relevance on the world stage and drive inclusiveness as we grow and evolve is real. Leveraging continuous education, skilling and innovation as a means to uplift our human capital, drive opportunities for social mobility and achieve inclusive growth is vital. With trust comes the commitment - both in the minds and hearts of people and businesses - to participate in the country's progress, and this trust must continue to be sustained upon the pillars of integrity, respect, care and mutual support.

Eugene Fitzgerald, CEO and Director, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research andTechnology (SMART)
13 Aug 2019 - 08:42

A positive view on the current global situation is that every downside has an opportunity. Singapore's previous planning will allow it to adjust and stabilise in the current new global variables, and it can continue to attract global talent and investments due to its unique circumstances and business-friendly policies. The key aspect for Singapore, then, is to plan for future opportunity and whatever the crisis is beyond the current one. As the rest of the world is occupied determining solutions for things like future global monetary rules, Singapore can work towards greater domestic innovation, further insulating its future economy from even larger perturbations.

Victor Mills, Chief Executive, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce
13 Aug 2019 - 08:42

The existential challenge for Singapore is how to sustain and expand the Singapore brand at a time of increased fluidity and uncertainty. There are many aspects to the challenge, all of which are opportunities to excel. Chief among these is the country's low birth rate. Targeted immigration remains the only answer to sustain our economy and protect our way of life. This message needs to be understood and accepted by citizens. That will only happen with consistent, courageous leadership from the business community and from government. Like any country, Singapore is a work in progress. It's up to its citizens to support that progress.

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