Singapore is in a good position to deal with challenges such as rapid advances in technology that disrupt business models, but must stay open and innovative to overcome global uncertainties, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and labour chief Chan Chun Sing yesterday.
Singapore has a few things going for it: a good education and training system, and a cohesive relationship between the Government, businesses and people, he said.
But three things must be done going forward, said Mr Chan, who is deputy chairman of the Committee on the Future Economy. Its report on long-term strategies for Singapore's economy to do well is due in the next fortnight.
First, businesses must reduce their need for manpower and go for quality growth based on innovation, he urged. "Our ability to take in any more foreign manpower will depend on our ability to integrate them into our social system," he said at a Chinese New Year dinner for residents of Tanjong Pagar GRC, where he is an MP, and Radin Mas.
Second, firms should expand beyond Singapore. Mr Chan said Singaporeans must be prepared to go beyond the country's shores, and the education and training system must be geared towards helping young people do so.
Finally, Singapore has to create an environment that enables innovation. Regulations should "not just prevent bad things from happening", but enable Singapore to have a more pro-business and pro-worker environment. This would allow businesses to be started easier and faster. Said the minister: "We must remain open and connected with the rest of the world. Open to ideas, open to business opportunities beyond our shores, connected to people and connected to ideas."