Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the CNN interview.

While the “Singapore model” was praised by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on his visit to the Republic earlier this month, going so far as to express a desire to emulate Singapore’s low taxation and open-door policy, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed his doubts regarding using Singapore as a benchmark for the UK’s post-Brexit aspirations.

In an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the New Economy Forum last Nov, Mr Lee said in response to a question on whether London can be a “Singapore on the Thames” after Brexit that such doubts arose from examining certain conditions that are unique to Singapore.

For example, Mr Lee said that the circumstances surrounding Singapore’s separation from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 were different from those surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union, the latter of which is more similar to ASEAN than a nation-state, as suggested by Singapore’s former ambassador to the UN and professor of public policy at the National University of Singapore Kishore Mahbubani.

Speaking to CNN, Prof Mahbubani said that Singapore, being “one of the founding members of ASEAN” benefits from the “trading bloc of 10 member states”, and suggested that “no Singaporean government would contemplate [leaving ASEAN] because that would be suicidal”.

“The ASEAN ecosystem is very important for Singapore’s economy and to leave a peaceful and prosperous neighborhood is not what you want to do,” he added.

In the Bloomberg interview, Mr Lee also said that Singapore and the UK have “completely different” histories and social welfare systems, given that Singapore was ejected from the Federation of Malaysia while the UK had chosen to leave the EU.

“You will have to find a different way to prosper having made the decision to leave the EU.

“Maybe, maybe if you look at Singapore, you might think you have some ideas that you can use, we hope so. But I don’t think you can take one society’s solution and just plonk it on a different society,” said Mr Lee.

“Britain has developed a system of state welfare, of government role in the system where the government accounts for 40 to 45 percent of the GDP.

“The Singapore government accounts for 16 percent of the GDP, maybe 17 percent.

“So to say that you’re going to be like Singapore, are you going to give up two-thirds of your government spending, state pensions and national health?” Mr Lee asked.

BBC News, however, reported Mr Hunt as saying that while “Britain can draw encouragement from how Singapore’s separation from the Peninsula did not make it more insular but more open”, he emphasised that the UK does not intend to “emulate the social or political model of Singapore”.

He said: “I was Health Secretary for nearly six years … I am a passionate defender of a health service that is free at the point of use [under the National Health Service] and, if you remember, I secured quite a lot of extra money for the health service during my tenure, so those things are very different.”

“Strong rule of law in an otherwise unstable region” a strong factor pulling foreign investment into Singapore other than low taxation: Economist Intelligence Unit senior editor

Singaporean author and Economist Intelligence Unit senior editor Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh opined that “the tax rate is one very small plank in a giant raft of attractive things about” the Republic that has attracted foreign companies, which notably includes the recent relocation of world-renowned British tech firm Dyson’s headquarters to Singapore despite founder James Dyson’s pro-Brexit views.

Mr Vadaketh told CNN: “There are not many places in Southeast Asia that can offer that much stability and a well-educated, working population”.

He added: “Why did the IBMs of the world come here very early on?”

“Part of the reason is we offered them [multinationals] lots of transparency and tax incentives, but we also gave them clarity.

“Singapore said, ‘Hey, we are not going to have a change in government in five years… Some nationalists are not going to come in and steal your assets.'”

However, the same “strong rule of law” may not be “conducive for the kinds of jobs and industries they are trying to promote here — from basic start-ups to pharmaceutical research and development”, given the increasing government crackdown on public discourse, particularly in recent times, added Mr Vadaketh.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

Mother seeks court order to compel coroner to open inquiry into son’s death

By Andrew Loh The mother of Dinesh Raman s/o Chinnaiah has filed…

SPF officer found guilty of forging a victim’s statement implying that she didn’t mind being molested

A female police offer was found guilty of forging a statement of…


数只鸽子似乎是吃了某些食物后,开始在地上挣扎,飞不起来。有数人站在不远处的树下,看到大部分鸽子飞不起来了,就戴上面罩,将鸽子捡起来,一一丢到黑色大垃圾袋内处理掉。网传的这段视频引来网民纷纷关注,其中有反对诱杀手段者,也有赞成的一群。 昨日,关爱动物研究协会(ACRES)上载了一段有关诱杀鸽子的视频,引起网民注意。 有关的视频也接合了脸书用户Suraiyah K Abdulla于2018年9月上载的诱杀鸽子视频,并表示有关的诱杀行为非常不人道,令人感到不安。 视频中除了看见人们将无法动弹的活鸽子,装入黑色大垃圾袋内,也可见到他们或扫、或踢地将鸽子装进簸箕内。 食用了毒药的鸽子大部分都无法逃离被捕捉的命运,只有疑似食用较少有毒物品的鸽子得以逃离被消灭的命运。 网民对有关的诱杀行动感到震惊和愤怒,纷纷在社交媒体上表达他们的不满和难以置信。 “诱杀鸽子是不对的,但是可以考虑不要饲养鸽子。我住家附近都是鸽子的繁殖地和排泄场所,因为有一批不体谅的人士正在喂养这些鸽子。” 为他人想想 但是,部分网民则觉得这是不得不进行的工作。因为一些鸟类可能是病原带菌体,且粪便不清理也会导致污染环境和水的卫生。 “鸽子四处觅食,它们身上可能携带诸如禽流感、H5N1等病菌。试想像这些携带病菌的鸟类到小贩中心的桌上觅食的情况。你的免疫系统若不够强壮,你最终将会生病。想象一下那些体弱的小孩和老人们。”

公司招聘帖称“欧洲/西方人士为佳”? 遭劳动发展局要求更正

一家公司在劳动力发展局的MyCareersFuture.sg官网,发布招聘员工广告,然而工作条件令人傻眼,敢敢放“欧洲/西方人士为佳”(preferably Europeans/ Westerners),被劳动力发展局质询,才在本月9日删除有关工作条件。 这家公司名为Ramo Industries,发布一则招聘业务发展经理的贴文,月薪介于8千至1万2000元。 工作条件方面,要求在建筑行业的企业发展领域,应至少有15年工作经验、专业、良好沟通技巧、可维持高标准、能独立工作等等。看起来都是本地专才都能胜任的。 然而最后一条工作条件,竟是“欧洲/西方人士为佳”?说好的不要歧视本地求职者呢? 据了解,这则招聘贴文在上月26日就已在MyCareersFuture.sg官网发布。对此,劳动发展局在脸书官方专页发文,指出已联系有关公司要求解释,该公司也在本月9日下午2时许,对招聘贴文作出更正。 不过,劳资政三方公平与良好雇佣联盟(TAFEP)亦关注此事,将找该公司详谈,了解和检讨其聘雇做法。 劳动发展局也提醒雇主,若招聘时排除新加坡人、或有意提及倾向聘雇非新加坡人,都可能构成招聘歧视。 We are…