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By Avery Chong, Gerald Giam, Nathaniel Koh, Watson Chong and Yaw Shin Leong
Singaporean workers are facing their most challenging period since Independence. Thousands have lost their jobs since the current economic crisis began last year, and unemployment is expected to continue rising through 2009 and beyond. Many workers have been forced to accept salary cuts or go on unpaid leave to help their companies stay profitable.
These workers should be saluted for their resilience, perseverance and adaptability in the face of enormous challenges. Singapore‘s prosperity and economic progress were achieved primarily through the sweat of our workers.
The Government always claims credit for Singapore‘s economic growth during good times, yet conveniently blames the global downturn when our economy takes a nosedive. However the facts tell a different story. Singapore was the first country in Asia to slip into recession last year. Our GDP is expected to contract 8.8% this year — much worse than almost all our major trading partners (see Annex A for the economic forecasts for our top trading partners).
The Government’s economic model may no longer be serving us well, and we need to start a national conversation to discuss alternative economic models to take Singapore to the next level of progress.