- POSTED: 10 Sep 2013 23:05
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the current economic uncertainty is not a new global crisis, and that Singapore is in a "safe position" overall.
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the current economic uncertainty is not a new global crisis, and that Singapore is in a "safe position" overall.
Mr Lee said: "On balance, I would take a sanguine view. I think the Asian economies are in a stronger position than they were in 1997 when the crisis came. I think we've got more safeguards instituted now, over the last decades since the Asian crisis to deal with the likely consequences of big capital flows.
"And also, I think the Americans withdrawing the QE (quantitative easing) or the Europeans -- they will be very mindful to do it carefully, because they don't want to destabilise their own economy. So on balance, I would say we are in a safe position."
However, Mr Lee said it was important to remain cautious about the future, and urged Singapore companies to continue looking outwards and become globally competitive.
But for them to succeed, companies will need people who are prepared to work in difficult places. The lack of such talent could limit Singapore's potential success.
He said: "We also want people who're prepared to go out and take adventure, dive in and be deployed in difficult places and learn what happens there and make your way in the world.
"I think in schools and training we've done well, but in terms of getting people to go where the business is -- even if conditions are not so comfortable or comprehensive -- Singaporeans don't always go as readily as we'd like them to."
Mr Lee was speaking at an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of IE Singapore. The trade promotion agency is charged with helping Singapore companies expand overseas and stay globally competitive.
For Singapore to maintain its position as a leading trade hub, Mr Lee said it was important to build an environment where traders want to live and work.
He said: "You know what we're doing with Changi Airport, we're developing that. We're developing the PSA, building a big new port in Tuas -- twice the size of what we now have in Tanjong Pagar and Pasir Panjang.
"In terms of financial services, I think over the last ten, fifteen years, we've probably consolidated ourselves as a major financial centre -- not just in Asia, but in the world. And if you're a trader, you'll want to be in a place where you have all these services at your fingertips. "