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Speaking about the future economy of Singapore, Mr Leong linked it to his experience in Japan during the 1980 and 1990s. He was awarded an Overseas Merit Scholarship by the Singapore Government in 1979 to study Economics in Hitotsubashi University in Japan. Currently the CEO of own private equity firm, Timbre Capital, he began his career with the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation in 1986 and subsequently worked with global investments in Tokyo, London and Hong Kong.
“When we explore, we have to understand that the world is very diverse, even with the disruptive technology.” he said, noting the “VUCA nature” — a mix of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity — of the current economic situation.
He cited the Japanese asset price bubble problem from 1986 to 1991, when real estate and stock market prices were greatly inflated. After the bubble burst, the Japanese economy stagnated.
Mr Leong noted the importance of real estate as an economic development tool. However, he warned that Singapore and other Asian countries seemed to be leveraging too much on the housing market to manage the economy.
He also touched on “stakeholder capitalism”, saying that while it is important, it is not the driver to move an economy forward. Stakeholder capitalism is a system in which corporations are oriented to serve the interests of all their stakeholders including customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and local communities.
“Deregulation is something which we have to think about,” he concluded, suggesting that the private sector should be the leader of the future economy. In economic terms, deregulation is the reduction or elimination of government control in a particular industry, usually enacted to create more competition within the industry.
The PSP in a statement thanked Future Of Singapore for organising the event, and hoped that such open, critical yet constructive discussions would be the norm in the long term.
Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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