Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he’s confident the city-state will stand strong as he seeks to move past a series of political scandals and persistent inflation.
(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he’s confident the city-state will stand strong as he seeks to move past a series of political scandals and persistent inflation.
“Let there be no doubt: my government is determined to keep our system free of corruption and wrongdoing,” the 71-year-old premier said Tuesday in his customary speech broadcast on the eve of Singapore’s national day. “Trust will enable us to move forward safely in a troubled world.”
Lee also signaled adjustments will be made to public housing, where the bulk of residents live, to keep them accessible and affordable for “all income groups.” The cost of living and property affordability has ranked in polls as major issues rankling the public.
While inflation has peaked, authorities project headline and core inflation to remain elevated, averaging 4.5%–5.5% and 3.5%–4.5%, respectively, this year. “The storm may not blow over soon,” he said, referring to rising prices.
Lee hinted there could be tweaks to the nation’s pension savings too as Singapore ages. He said he will share more details at an annual policy speech on Aug. 20.
Lee’s People’s Action Party, which has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965, is trying to put behind it a string of controversies that has hurt its reputation for clean governance. Last month, Transport Minister S. Iswaran was arrested in an ongoing corruption probe, while two PAP lawmakers including the parliament speaker unexpectedly resigned over an affair.
That has created new challenges for Lee, who acknowledged in his speech questions have risen among the public about the issues. Lee defended his government’s handling of the scandals amid criticism from the opposition in parliament.
The episode is playing out at a sensitive time for Lee, who plans to hand over the reins to his deputy Lawrence Wong around the time of a general election that’s due by November 2025.
Read more: Scandals Taint Singapore’s Image, Complicating Succession
–With assistance from Nicholas Reynolds.
(Updates with details on public housing measures in the third paragraph.)
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