SINGAPORE: The country’s soon-to-be Prime Minister, Lawrence Wong, was the subject of a lengthy piece in The Economist based on an earlier interview he had given.

The article, titled ‘Singapore has achieved astounding economic success,’ was published on Wednesday (8 May) and saw The Economist touting Singapore’s “impressive” record in terms of a 43 per cent increase in median income.

The British publication said, “at around $46,000 in (US) dollar terms, the median full-time wages of Singaporeans are now higher than those in Britain, the country’s former colonial boss, where they sit at around $44,000.”

It also notes that Singapore is outranking regional rival Hong Kong, as well as the country’s high amount of reserves.

The piece also asks if Mr Wong can “oversee further growth,” especially in light of the country’s aging population and the increase in social spending needed to cope with it.

Singapore’s low birth rate is also an issue, as this means a decrease in the working-age population in the coming decades. The Economist cites UN projections as saying that from 2022 to 2050, the working-age population could fall by as much as a third.

See also  PM Lawrence Wong: Tonight marks the passing of the baton across generations

Immigration could help fill in gaps, but, as in many other developed countries, it’s a hot-button issue in Singapore. The government has long said that foreign workers are necessary for Singapore’s economy to grow, and Mr Wong reiterated this, although he noted some caveats.

“We welcome foreign professionals to work in Singapore, but it’s controlled, because if it’s not controlled I think we will be easily swamped. We cannot afford to be like the UAE, where the local residents are only less than 10 per cent of the population.”

The Economist also quotes Mr Wong as saying that “he could not imagine a situation where Singapore’s citizens are a minority.”

But like other analyses, the piece underlines that the biggest threats to the country are external, as Singapore could be caught between the two economic superpowers, with the country having strong ties with both.

“In the worst-case scenario, in which trade is split between two global blocs—between those countries which voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the un General Assembly in 2022, and those which did not—Singapore’s GDP would decline by around 10 per cent, compared with 3 per cent for Asia or 1 per cent for the world.” /TISG

See also  Lawrence Wong has my vote

Read also: Analyst says Lawrence Wong will be ‘closely watched as he takes the helm’