Singapore GDP grew 1.2% in 2023 but expect less favourable external environment ahead: PM

Despite these headwinds, Singapore has “reason for hope and confidence”, Mr Lee said.

“Rapid technological progress, especially in artificial intelligence and robotics, holds great promise for our businesses and people,” he said.

“The government will work closely with businesses to upgrade and transform their operations, and with our tripartite partners to support every Singaporean to upskill and reskill, so that all can actively pursue their careers and keep themselves employable and competitive.”

Mr Lee added that the government would continue to support lower-income families and vulnerable groups “to enable them to live with purpose and dignity”.

“We will continue to build affordable and accessible public housing for Singaporeans, a cornerstone of our social compact,” he said.

“To care for our ageing population, we are enhancing our physical infrastructure and social safety nets, and transforming our healthcare system with Healthier SG and Age Well SG. All these, and more, form part of the blueprint for a refreshed social compact.”

Mr Lee also spoke about the Forward Singapore agenda, which he described as “ambitious”, especially “in an era of rapid external and internal change”.

“Many larger societies have become divided and weakened because difficult issues were not tackled directly and effectively, rival interest groups jostled against one another and leaders put their own interests above the nation’s,” he said.

“As a small red dot, Singapore cannot afford to make the same mistakes and suffer the same consequences. We must work ever harder to keep our society together, and strengthen our sense of shared identity and nationhood.”

Launched in June 2022, the Forward Singapore exercise was led by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and other fourth-generation (4G) political leaders to review and refresh Singapore’s social compact.

This has been described as “the glue that holds society together, the shared understanding of our roles and responsibilities towards each other, and our shared values and aspirations as a people”.

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