Singapore economy grew 1.7 pct in first half

August 8, 2012
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Singapore has been a success story but the reality is that the world is not standing still/XINHUA
SINGAPORE, Aug 8 – The Singapore economy grew by 1.7 percent in the first half of this year, and is on track for a full- year growth between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday.

Lee said the city state is doing well against the backdrop of an unsettled world. The growth number is in line with the official projection of 1-3 percent.

“Europe and the United States face serious economic problems. Asia is doing better than other regions, but China and India are slowing down,” he said in the National Day message.

Lee also said Singapore needs to review policies broadly, particularly social and education policies, as the next 20 years will be very different.

Singapore has been a success story but the reality is that the world is not standing still. Emerging economies in Asia are advancing rapidly, bringing with it challenges and opportunities.

“To still be a shining red dot twenty years from now, we must rethink our approaches, and reinvent ourselves. We must anticipate changes and prepare for what lies ahead,” he said.

The prime minister said “Singaporeans will remain at the heart of all that we do, as we update our policies to best serve our people.”

“Core values such as meritocracy, multi-racialism and financial prudence cannot change. But within these broad principles, we should review what needs to change and where we should act more boldly,” he said.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat will lead the charge with a team of younger ministers, he said.

Singapore reviewed some of its policies, including housing and immigration, in the aftermath of a general election last year, the first that sees the rise of the social media.

The supply of public housing flats have since been ramped up and immigration policies tightened.

Lee highlighted the need to focus on meritocracy and education.

“We will equip them with skills and knowledge to thrive in an uncertain world. We must work with parents to bring their children to more equal starting points for primary school, through good and affordable childcare and kindergartens,” he said.

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