In speaking to William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal, Prime Minister Lee Loong pointed out that most people in the world know about Singapore’s rise from Third to First World status, but that the obvious gains have all been made.
Given its limits on manpower and resources, Singapore’s only avenue for growth is by constantly boosting know-how and productivity, the Prime Minister said.
“I don’t have farmers I can convert into factory workers,” he added.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s words that there aren’t any farmers left in Singapore to convert to factory workers, the secretary-general of the Reform Party, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam said that Mr Lee was making “a play for his dad (Mr Lee Kuan Yew)’s mantle of global rent-a-pundit.”
“He says Singapore has maxed out the easy sources of growth and that he cannot convert farmers into factory workers any longer. But he has been giving farmers from the poorest countries in Asia free passes to walk into jobs in every area in Singapore for over a decade, depressing living standards for Singaporeans but creating the illusion that he’s presiding over a fast-growing dynamic economy,” Mr Jeyaretnam added.