In his dialogue yesterday (Feb 26), Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say attempted to managed public expectations over the government’s inability to grow the Singapore economy by saying “the days of high economic growth are over” and he blames the retiring baby boomers for slowing the growth of the local workforce.
Minister Lim Swee Say however also said that opening the immigration floodgate like the one during 2007 – 2014 is not an option citing concerns that Singaporeans may become a minority. He then declared the only solution is to achieve a “quantum leap in productivity”, despite not knowing the meaning of the word “quantum”. In physics, a quantum means the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction.
This is not the first time the Minister misued or created embarrassing words, in 2012, he created the word “betterer’.
Minister Lim Swee Say continued his speech and and proposed an “economic growth formula” called “1+2=3”:
“1 per cent growth in our workforce, plus 2 per cent growth in our productivity, to give us 3 per cent growth in our GDP. Three per cent will be much lower than the 4 per cent, 6 per cent in the past, but we believe that it is a 3 per cent driven by higher productivity, which will be of better quality and will be more sustainable.”
This “1+2=3” approach is a tacit admission that Singapore economy was built on the influx of foreign manpower because productivity has been near-zero in the past 10 years.