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PM Lee asks Singapore to take 'ups and downs' in economic outlook in its stride


PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his written Chinese New Year message on Sunday acknowledged the dismal economic outlook, but asked Singaporeans to "take these ups and downs in our stride".

"I know that the economic outlook is filled with uncertainty. The world economy is slowing, and even China's economy is softening. Stock markets around the world are down. Business sentiment in Singapore is guarded," he said.

"The government is watching the situation closely. We do not expect a severe downturn, like the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. The government will continue to support businesses and workers as we restructure and upgrade. We must continue to strive to get on to the right path, so that we can prosper again when conditions improve, as they will."

As assurance that Singapore is still doing well, he said: "We still enjoy full employment, and there are still opportunities to be seized, in Singapore and in the region.

"I hope you will continue to go for them...just as the monkey leaps onto higher branches to pick peaches, and through his wit and agility takes care of himself, and stays at least one jump ahead of others."

He was referencing the year of the monkey, which according to the lunar calendar, begins on Monday.

In his message, he also touched on the importance of family, and his delight that last year, more Singaporeans welcomed babies into their families - with 33,800 citizen births, the most in 13 years, and even slightly more than the dragon year in 2012. He promised to continue to support Singaporeans in parenthood.

He also expressed his hope that Singaporeans will "[see] one another as members of an extended Singapore family", to treat one another well and be willing to help one another.

"This country belongs to all of us, and is what we make of it. It is big hearts that must make our little red dot shine bright," he said.