Singapore's reserves must be protected at all costs

Singapore's reserves play an existential role in the survival of our nation.

They give the Singapore dollar its purchasing power or strength. The stronger the dollar, the more goods and services it can buy.

We can not only afford the many luxuries of life, but also influence the market to our advantage through the relative strength of the Singdollar.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat recalls how apprehensive he was when serving in the Monetary Authority of Singapore during the global financial crisis (Reserves 'help S'pore weather crises and keep economy stable'; Dec 6).

Singapore was spared the worst because our significant reserves protected the Singdollar.

A recent report about a shortage of bus drivers in Malaysia revealed that many Malaysians prefer working in Singapore because the superior Singdollar means their earnings here easily translate to about three times the amount they might have earned in Malaysia.

By the same token, some Malaysian institutions are mired in debt because the weak ringgit led to rising costs that made them uncompetitive.

In contrast, the strong Singdollar, backed by the formidable firepower of our vast reserves, is able to keep costs low for Singapore institutions and businesses.

We are also able to entice the best and brightest minds to work for us because we can afford to pay in hard currency.

In short, our reserves are sacrosanct and must be protected at all costs.

Tan Yip Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore's reserves must be protected at all costs'. Print Edition | Subscribe