SINGAPORE, Aug 8 — “COVID-19 will not be Singapore’s last crisis as more storms and turbulence lie ahead but do not fear,” the republic’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told fellow Singaporeans in his National Day Message 2022 today.

“As long as we stay united and resolute, we can keep our nation peaceful and secure, build a more prosperous economy, and forge an inclusive society that all of us can belong to and can be proud of, for many years to come.

“We must never stop imagining and building the Singapore we want, even as we strengthen our guard against what can go wrong,” said the prime minister.

Singapore will celebrate its 57th National Day tomorrow.

Lee who delivered his speech from Gardens by the Bay which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, said, Singaporeans “must also look to the long-term.”

Lee cited that the Gardens were decades in the making and the place that he was standing while delivering the speech used to be open sea.

“About 50 years ago, we started to reclaim land here to create Marina South and a future downtown.

“This is how we do things in Singapore… always daring to dream, setting our sights on the next frontier, and searching for better solutions and fresh possibilities.

“We look and plan ahead not just for the next five or 10 years, but for the next 30 or 50 years and beyond,” he said.

Touching on geopolitical environment, Lee said “the road ahead will not be easy.”

“Around us, a storm is gathering. US-China relations are worsening, with intractable issues, deep suspicions, and limited engagement between them.

“This is unlikely to improve anytime soon,” he said, adding that miscalculations or mishaps can easily make things much worse.

The prime minister added that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also has profound implications for the world and for Singapore.

“Singapore will be buffeted by intense rivalry and tensions in the region around us,” he said.

Meanwhile, looking at economic environment, Lee said that even though Singapore’s economy has emerged strongly from the pandemic, “the outlook has clouded considerably.”

“Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the pandemic had already disrupted supply chains, and inflation was already rising. But the invasion has aggravated both problems.

“Food and energy prices are rising all around the world,” he said.

Lee noted that he “knows that the cost of living is at the top of everyone’s minds” and “the government is doing everything necessary to help Singaporeans cope with rising prices.”

Among others, Lee said that the government has tightened its exchange rate policy and strengthened the Singapore dollar, to dampen imported inflation.

“The government also stands ready to do more to help Singaporeans if things worsen. But the basic reality is that international economic conditions have shifted.

“The world is not likely to return anytime soon to the low inflation levels and interest rates that we have enjoyed in recent decades,” he said.


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