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3.5% GDP growth for Singapore in H1 'not disappointing': SCCCI

However, the narrowing of the full year's growth forecast signalled that businesses should be cautious, the chamber warned.

SINGAPORE: The 3.5 per cent GDP growth in the first half of this year was not disappointing, said the President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) on Friday (Aug 8).

Responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Message, he warned, however that the narrowing of the full year's growth forecast signalled that businesses should be cautious.

Said SCCCI President Thomas Chua: "We urge the Government to continue providing the necessary grant and we hope that businesses will work harder to review their business model."

The chamber held its National Day celebration dinner this evening at Orchard Hotel, attended by Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.

In his message, PM Lee also spoke about helping young Singaporeans, particularly those from Polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs), to acquire relevant skills to succeed in the changing economic environment. Business leaders called for more effort in preparing students to work in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

"Most of the people don't like to work in an SME. That is the bigger challenge because they normally like to ask what company you are from or how big a company is," said Mr Ng San Tiong, Managing Director at Tat Hong Holdings.

Mr Lau Tai San, Chairman and Managing Director of Kim Ann engineering added: "We need more outreach programmes to explain to the students how local companies can, particularly SMEs, be a place for them."