Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Ministry of Communication and Information

At his Chinese New Year message delivered yesterday (Jan 26), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reminded Singaporeans the need to work hard and upgrade themselves to restructure the economy.

“Economic restructuring is hard work for both businesses and workers. We know this from experience. It is not easy for workers to learn new ways to do things or to switch jobs. Neither is it easy for businesses to change the way they work, or develop innovative products and new markets. But we have to persevere with upgrading, because it is the only way to improve the lives of Singaporeans.”

Acknowledging that the economy is “sluggish”, Lee Hsien Loong also said that his government will introduce new policies to address “immediate economic needs” in the upcoming Budget on Feb 20:

“The Budget will also respond to our more immediate economic needs. Last year growth was sluggish, although it picked up towards the end of the year.”

The Prime Minister claimed that he has done a lot for young couples, and that he expect the birth rate to rise:

“For young couples, renewal means making a serious life decision to start a family and have children. The Government is doing all we can to help families do this. We have substantially expanded preschool, childcare and infant care places. We are providing more affordable and good kindergartens. We are shortening waiting times for HDB flats, so couples can set up home and start families sooner. I hope that the New Year bring with it the lusty cries of many more new-born babies!”

Ending his speech with a rosy-tinted picture, Lee Hsien Loong said:

“I am confident we can succeed. We have done it before, and we have the wherewithal to do it again. Here in Singapore, we tackle our challenges together. Government, businesses and workers all play their part, coming together to plan ahead, support one another and seize new opportunities. This is how our children and their children can dream bigger dreams than us, and live better lives than ours.”

You may view the full transcript here.

There is no mention of the corruption investigation in his town council and also on the declining diplomacy between Singapore and China.