SINGAPORE: With the global economic outlook uncertain, Singapore will have to ride the ups and downs in the short-term, but its focus must remain on the longer-term, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Feb 8).
This means focusing on skills upgrading, as well as giving productivity and training a bigger push.
“These are the things we have been doing, and I think if the economy slows down, it’s an opportunity for us to take them even more seriously and to work at them," said Mr Lee.
"It always happens when business is up, and you talk about training, nobody has time to train. When business is down, or a bit slower, we have a bit of capacity to do more of that."
Mr Lee said this following a visit to Changi Airport on Monday where he met more than 200 workers.
When asked about what workers can expect from this year’s Budget, which will be delivered on Mar 24, Mr Lee said the focus must not just be on the "goodies'.
“I think the attitude should be what we can do in this Budget which will help give our efforts a further push, on productivity, on upgrading, on transforming our companies to be competitive in this world, and to be able to operate even beyond Singapore, in the region?"
He added: "Because although things are down, as I said in my New Year message, there are still opportunities – at home, as well as in the region, around us, and we should be looking for them all the time."
During Monday's visit, Mr Lee – who was accompanied by key union leaders – gave out red packets to the workers, as well as mandarin oranges and cookies. Mr Lee has been conducting these Chinese New Year visits with the Labour Movement since 2008.
Also visiting workers on the first day of Chinese New Year was Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. He was at the National University Hospital on Saturday to show his appreciation for hospital staff.
He also brought some festive cheer to the patients and gave out oranges and red packets, and ended his visit by joining in the lo hei reception.