Leaders must guide S'pore through challenges ahead

Despite what we have achieved in the past, Singapore remains vulnerable, with no natural resources and a small domestic market.

The road ahead is fraught with uncertainties and challenges - terrorism is a huge security challenge, as are developments in regional countries, such as China's "One Belt, One Road" plan and the Kra Canal plan.

Of course, there are domestic issues too.

People are now living longer.

Will they be able to withdraw all their Central Provident Fund savings by age 55? What about those who squander all their savings? Who will take care of them?

With an ageing population, it is not only this generation, but also future ones, that will have to shoulder a heavier burden.

Then, there is public housing. Some people are asking to be allowed to own two Housing Board flats, one to live in, and one for investment. But how will this impact prices and demand for land for housing?

Perhaps we should go back to the basics - HDB flats are for public housing and not investment. They should be priced more affordably, but not be made affordable with more grants, so as to check resale prices.

HDB flat owners who upgrade to private property should not "hoard" the flats. This may help the supply side. The demand for more land for public housing may be eased, and more land can be allocated to private housing.

However, every policy has trade-offs and we cannot satisfy everyone. At times, we need to make short-term sacrifices for the future.

We have competitive advantages that were created and built on over the years. These can certainly be replicated.

Our leaders must have foresight to plan far and be able to strengthen our foundation, ensure Singapore remains attractive to investors, build our brand, and take the nation forward.

Yuen Woon Har (Ms)