PM: Singaporeans understand the perils of an open economy

Financial Times

Sir, John Burton (“Crisis spoils Singapore celebrations”, February 12) claimed an undercurrent of public discontent with the People’s Action party (PAP) government, as Singapore goes into a sharp recession. Unfortunately, the online poll he cited was from a website devoted to anti-government invective.

Singaporeans may be apprehensive about the financial storm raging around us, but we understand the inescapable vulnerabilities of a small, open economy, and what we must do together to pull through. At the next general elections, voters will decide whether this PAP government has served them well.

Mr Burton also highlighted losses from specific investments by Singapore government-owned entities in western financial groups. GIC and Temasek have diversified portfolios aimed at long-term returns. Their performance is not measured on each individual investment but on the entire portfolio.

They have suffered overall losses in this crisis like most investors in public listed assets, but by less than the decline in market indices.

Over the 20-year period up to March 31 2008, GIC earned annualised US dollar returns of 7.8 per cent, while Temasek earned 19 per cent.

This is not a disreputable record.

Chen Hwai Liang,
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister,

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