Don’t let populist sentiment derail policies that work

The following is the unedited letter sent to the Straits Times by Mr Ng E Jay.

You can read th edited one in the Straits Times here.

Aim for sustainable and balanced growth

I refer to the article “Slower growth means fewer job opportunities” (30 May) in which National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan cautioned youths that slower economic growth means fewer job opportunities and possibly lower starting pay.

I do not profess to speak for all members of my generation, but I believe no one can reasonably demand lower growth for its own sake.

Singaporeans want balanced and sustainable growth. We want growth that does not come at the expense of higher inflation, an overcrowded city, or the need to import an inordinate number of foreign workers. We also want all strata of society to benefit equally from economic growth.

However, the younger generation often seems unaware that Singapore will always remain, by virtue of its small size, a very vulnerable economy. The government must be proactive in pursuing economic growth while the going is good and building sizeable reserves for the inevitable rainy day. Youths must understand that we cannot spend our way to prosperity, nor can we afford to miss out on economic opportunities as they present themselves.

I firmly believe it is possible for the government to fine-tune existing policies so that future economic growth will be more even and balanced.

At the same time, the government must be relentless in seizing opportunities and fostering competitiveness, and not allow populist sentiment to derail it from policies that have benefited so many generations of Singaporeans.

Ng E Jay