Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Ministry of Communication and Information

In his New Year day message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the economy is “not bad” and that everything in good progress:

“Overall, we are not doing badly, considering the global economic uncertainties. We expect growth this year to be one plus percent, still positive though less than we hoped for. While the labour market has eased, unemployment remains low and we are still creating new jobs. I know many employers and workers are concerned, but rest assured the Government is watching this closely.”

Economic figures however show otherwise, with the latest Q3 GDP result posting a -2% decline and unemployment figures hitting a 7-year-high of 3% for citizens. The Manpower Ministry’s latest employment figures also revealed that job seekers now outnumber job vacancies 100 to 91.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong then continued to make other baseless claims, like Singaporeans “enjoying generous housing subsidies” and “affordable preschools”:

“At the same time, we are making Singapore a City for All Ages. 26,000 households collected keys to their new or resale HDB flats and enjoyed generous housing subsidies. 150,000 senior citizens are benefitting from Silver Support. We have completed our review of the CPF and launched the $3bil Successful Aging Masterplan. More parents are enjoying good and affordable preschools, with 17,000 more children benefiting from MOE Kindergartens and Anchor and Partner Operators.”

The S$2.2 million a year dictator also defended his directive to re-write the Constitution, calling it an “update of our political institutions”:

“We have also updated our political institutions, in particular the Elected Presidency. We now have a Constitutional safeguard to ensure that we regularly elect Presidents from the different ethnic groups. The next Presidential election will be reserved for Malay candidates.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also took a jab at Europe and United States saying that their people are doing themselves more harm than good by protecting their market from unfair international corporate interests:

“Singapore is making good progress, but the world around us is in flux. These are difficult and uncertain times. In developed countries, a mood of nativist nationalism has grown. There is profound angst and discontent with the impact of technology and globalisation. People want to shut themselves off, to insulate themselves from foreign competition. This will most likely hurt themselves and fail to improve their lives.”

You may read his speech transcript here.

There is no comment on his town council’s corruption investigation and the detention of SAF Terrex vehicles by China.