SINGAPORE: Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said Singapore's economy cannot afford to grow like before.
Speaking at a dialogue session with 250 residents from Aljunied GRC, Mr Tan said despite slower growth, there are still exciting opportunities for the country.
He said: "We have sectors that are very good in the manufacturing, electronics - strong productivity. In fact people operating here who do businesses in Taiwan, they find that actually, we're very productive here, because we have a very educated, well-skilled workforce - not just the basic education, university but also CET.
“We put in several billion dollars to help our people train. That's why all these courses - we are giving you 80, 90 per cent subsidies, you must use it, keep yourselves updated, and that will be our strength compared to other places.
“And what will be our strength - we know that we are aging as a population, but we must not see that as a disadvantage. I think we can age well.
“Our state of health is strong, and I think people will continue working as part of active aging - some may not want to, and retire, and that's also okay.
“But we can tap on this potential - how do we harness it? But we need to change the way we do our business, the way we operate - are we able to bring in more of our older Singaporeans who are keen to work? Our stay-at-home mothers who want to do part-time work?
“I think that's where we will hopefully, as we transform, put ourselves in a very strong position. Not because of GDP, not because of the economy, but so that we can generate good jobs and opportunities for our people."
Some residents had asked about the state of the economy and businesses in Singapore.
He said the government aims to provide good jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans at all levels.
It also wants to keep unemployment low and will help people re-enter the workforce.
And to do this, there's the need to continue attracting good companies and help businesses grow - including small and medium enterprises.
He said the government is also positive about opportunities in the Iskandar region in Malaysia.
On the issue of housing, he said the government is revisiting the fundamentals.
Some considerations include whether there is still a need for an income ceiling or to raise it further.
He said the government wants to make sure it is able to provide Singaporeans with homes which are within their means.
He added that in shaping policies, the intention is to make sure that they benefit Singaporeans and not foreigners. - CNA/ck
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