Singapore Budget 2019: Republic has a place in the world as long as it stays relevant and adapts, says Heng Swee Keat

In order to remain relevant, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the country must develop deep capabilities, stay open and connected, and draw ideas and talents from around the globe.
In order to remain relevant, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the country must develop deep capabilities, stay open and connected, and draw ideas and talents from around the globe.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - To chart Singapore's future, the Government picked up on three lessons from the country's history, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said as he closed his Budget speech on Monday (Feb 18).

First, as long as the Republic stays relevant and useful, Singapore and Singaporeans will have a place in the world.

In order to remain relevant, he said the country must develop deep capabilities, stay open and connected, and draw ideas and talents from around the globe.

"Singaporean talents have been making their mark in various fields, and connecting with other highly skilled individuals from around the world will make our team even stronger," he added.

The second lesson is that external events will shape and reshape lives here.

"Our people have shown time and again that we can take the long view, adapt with the times, and thrive," he said.

The third lesson learnt is that Singapore draws its strength from its diversity, "by focusing on what we have in common".

 
 
 

In the earlier years, he noted the country's forefathers clustered around ethnic and religious groups to support one another.

Today, this support is regardless of race, language, or religion, he noted.

Summarising his plan for the Budget, Mr Heng said the Republic will continue to build on Singapore's multicultural heritage, to foster a caring and inclusive society, and develop Singaporeans on a lifelong basis.

On the economic front, Mr Heng said the Government is positioning Singapore as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise - to catch the wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He added that the Republic welcomes multinational companies as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from around the world.

The Government, he said, will also help Singaporean start-ups and SMEs to scale and internationalise.

Mr Heng said Singapore must continue to be built as a global city and home for all, adding that the country will also invest to ensure that Singapore remains safe and secure.

"Budget 2019 lays out this Government's approach to building a strong, united Singapore."

 
 

"We nurture our young, take care of our seniors, expand opportunities for our people to be at their best, and to live in a liveable, endearing home, secure and globally connected."

"Together, in close partnership with all, in our public, people, and private sectors, we can, and will, continue to take Singapore forward."

Read Mr Heng's full speech.