The Straits Times looks ahead to the biggest issues of the new year, from the possibility of a recession to the rise of quantum computers.
January 1 GST hike
GST goes up to 8 per cent. But it is accompanied by an Assurance Package – to be disbursed over five years – to cushion the impact on lower- and middle-income citizens. About 2.9 million adult Singaporeans got up to $200 in cash as part of the package in December 2022, and every Singaporean household will get $300 in CDC vouchers in January 2023.
Return of the tourists
As flights and travel resume, expect tourist arrivals to go back to a pre-Covid-19 normal – unless a more virulent variant of the virus returns.
Will there be more help for Singaporeans amid the uncertainty? About 2.5 million eligible adult Singaporeans got a one-off Cost of Living special payment of up to $500 in December 2022 to help them cope with rising prices. As inflation looks set to remain high, some expect more help to be disbursed, especially to those in greater need.
President Halimah Yacob’s six-year term ends in September 2023, and a presidential poll is due by then. Will Madam Halimah stand for re-election or will Singaporeans see a new president? Of the previous two presidents, Mr S R Nathan served two terms while Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam served one term.
Focus on recycling
From mid-2023, most supermarkets will charge at least five cents for each disposable carrier bag. All households will also get a Bloobox for placing their household recyclables and recycling them as part of the national push for sustainability.
Ukraine war: One year on
Feb 24 will mark one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. With few signs of the war ending, ripple effects of energy supply and food security concerns will continue.
China’s National People’s Congress: Xi to be re-elected
Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to be re-elected to an unprecedented third five-year term at the annual parliamentary session in March.
Summits in Asia
Japan will host the G-7 meeting in Hiroshima in May. India chairs the G-20 New Delhi summit in September.
Malaysia’s state elections: More battles in store
The Pakatan Harapan-led unity government will face keen challenges from opposition parties during six state polls expected to be held in the second half of the year.
UK coronation: King Charles
Britain’s King Charles has reportedly asked for a lavish ceremony on May 6 that will advertise the UK to the world.
Climate change: COP28 in the United Arab Emirates
Major oil producer UAE is a controversial host for the climate talks starting in November.
With global growth slowing, Singapore could be headed for a recession as exports and foreign direct investments flounder.
The Singapore stock market could remain volatile as US rates tick up. But some sectors like banks could outperform.
Electricity prices are likely to remain high as Singapore incurs higher costs in its transition from piped natural gas to renewable energy.
Singapore’s semiconductor industry could see more volatility as the US seeks to reshore fabrication and China vies for technological self-sufficiency.
Office space shortage
A shortage of Grade A office space and the need to redesign offices due to hybrid work could bolster demand for co-working spaces.
Team Singapore return to action
The South-east Asian Games will be held in Cambodia for the first time in May, and athletes will then travel to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
Singapore Sports Hub reboot
A new start in a new year for the Sports Hub after the government takeover - what can we expect in 2023?
LIV-ing it up
Top golfers Cameron Smith, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson will travel here in April to compete in the breakaway series at Sentosa.
A return to in-person racing
Will there be more mass participation events on the calendar in Singapore after the pandemic-hit years?
Fifa Women’s World Cup
Two South-east Asian nations, the Philippines and Vietnam, will debut at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand in July, when 32 of the world’s top women’s teams will feature.
Rugby World Cup
France will host the quadrennial event in September – holders South Africa and 19 other nations will battle for the Webb Ellis Cup.
Science and tech
Singapore as a green hydrogen hub
With our strategic geographical position and a number of pilot projects in the pipeline, will Singapore be a step closer to establishing itself as a hub for storing, transporting and trading this low carbon fuel?
More alternative foods will reach supermarket shelves and menus in Singapore as the authorities may soon allow the import and sale of insects for consumption. A cell-based chicken production facility will also be up and running early next year.
AI chatbots to the rescue
A new artificial intelligence-based chatbot called ChatGPT can write convincing college-level essays, create art and explain tricky science concepts. An enhanced version of the software will be out in 2023.
Quantum on the rise
The race for quantum computers, which can outperform the world’s best supercomputers, is expected to accelerate in 2023. This computer of the future can help with new drug discoveries and create an unhackable internet.