Photo of Lawrence Wong from Ngau Kai Yan CNA

Citing the US election and Britain’s exit of the European Union, Minister of National Development (MND) Lawrence Wong blamed globalisation for growing discontentment against the government.

“From Brexit to Donald Trump’s election, 2016 has seen such developments mark the rise of anti-globalisation politics. While globalisation has brought benefits through economic interdependence between countries, there is a broad section of society which does not feel their lives have improved. All this is fuelling deep discontent with globalisation, and provoking nationalistic and protectionist sentiments around the world.”

However the Minister was quick to warn Singaporeans that their expectations of the government will have to be “practical”:

“Governments will have to act to address workers’ anxieties about their jobs and livelihoods, but will also need to be honest about the challenges and what practical state intervention is able to achieve.”

Minister Lawrence Wong also warned the Opposition from “selling populist measures that sound good but may cause more harm, like stirring up xenophobic sentiments and cultural divisions”.

The MND Minister then passed the buck to businesses for not delivering the benefits of globalisation to the general populace:

“While governments need to act to address globalisation’s stresses, businesses will have to do better too. Corporate social responsibility is typically seen in the form of monetary donations to charity. the fundamental issue concerns how companies make money as a responsible member of the global community, so that trust in the marketplace can be restored and strengthened. Ultimately, we all need to work together. Governments need to set rules that are balanced and fair. Businesses need to act responsibly and move towards long-term sustainability. Consumers also need to make the right choices to encourage the right practices.”