SINGAPORE: Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said Singapore will be able to strike a proper balance between economic growth and foreign talent — with public support.
He urged Singaporeans to play their part in helping to achieve such a balance.
Dr Ng said it will always be difficult to do so, and added that Singapore should not pretend that it is going to be easy.
He said: "The balance depends very much on what Singaporeans are willing to support. Because if you tighten too much, your jobs are at risk. And not only your jobs, because you become less competitive. But not only that, for example in essential services, we need people to build our homes, man our hospitals, so on and so forth. Your quality of life will be affected.
"On the other hand, we are reaching the limits of some of our land, our ability, our transport, our housing, so we have to adjust to that. And I don’t think that it’s only the government that will have to decide this. Singaporeans must also support the balance."
Dr Ng made these points on the sidelines of a community event in Bishan in response to questions from reporters on the government’s advance estimates — showing that the economy contracted 1.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year.
Dr Ng, who joined some 2,000 residents at the sports festival, also urged Singaporeans and new citizens to integrate with the rest of the community. He is confident that the process will be faster if Singaporeans remain open and new citizens take the initiative.
"Integration is a two—way street. It takes two hands to clap. And so we have to be open, for those of us who have been here longer. And I think for new citizens, they also have to step forward. So if one side remains open, the other side takes the initiative, both sides meet together, I think that will make it much faster," said Dr Ng.
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