On Sunday (June 7), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong kicked off a series of national broadcasts on what a post-Covid-19 future looks like for Singapore and the Government’s plans to see the country through the challenges.
Mr Lee, speaking on the topic “Overcoming the Crisis of a Generation”, called for Singaporeans to work together in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.
“We have made good progress. In the community, new cases have come down. In the migrant worker dormitories, the situation has stabilised. Our healthcare system is coping well, thanks to the outstanding work of our healthcare professionals, and many others on the frontline. Most importantly, among both Singaporeans and migrant workers, we have kept fatalities low – one of the lowest rates in the world”, he said.
Mr Lee, however, added that as the measures ease up, he expects the number of cases to rise so contact tracing will be stepped up significantly. “In the meantime, please continue to play your part,” he urged Singaporeans.
He cautioned that Covid-19 will be a long-term problem, a year or longer before vaccines, and added that we will learn to live with the virus long-term.
“But Covid-19 is not only a public health issue. It is also a serious economic, social and political problem. It is in fact the most dangerous crisis humanity has faced in a very long time,” the Prime Minister said.
Because of Covid-19, the global economy has virtually ground to a halt. “Singapore has taken a severe hit too. Our GDP is likely to shrink between 4 and 7 per cent this year, our worst contraction ever.”
Referring to the four budgets put in place to help Singaporeans through the crisis, Mr Lee noted: “We are injecting almost S$100 billion – 20 per cent of our GDP – the largest fiscal intervention in our history.”
The global impact, he said, is that “countries will also strive to become less dependent on others. Especially for essential goods and services, like food or critical medical supplies. This will have strategic implications. Countries will have less stake in each other’s well-being”.
“They will fight more over how the pie is shared, rather than work together to enlarge the pie for all. It will be a less prosperous world, and also a more troubled one.”
Bringing together Singaporeans
Despite these immense challenges, he added: “Do not fear. Do not lose heart. Singapore will not falter in its onward march.”
He added that Singapore will still be able to secure a bright future for ourselves. “An even stronger and better Singapore will emerge from the crisis,” he added.
Urging Singaporeans to hold on to the country’s strong reputation, he added that people need to heed the reassurance of the Government. Emphasising a stable political system that enables businesses to continue operating even in a crisis, Mr Lee said that Singapore’s approach has only strengthened its advantage.
Mr Lee added that Singapore has an advantage as compared to other nations. He explained that the country has been prepared, by developing plans for a future, developing skills for workers, digitalising both the public and private sectors, building our innovation and R&D capabilities and standing out in both Asia and the world. He also said that while no one can predict the world post-Covid-19, Singapore’s future economic strategies will stand the country in good stead.
The next broadcast, titled “Living with Covid-19”, will be by Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (June 9), from 7.30 pm. /TISG
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