1H2017 Review: Singapore

1H2017 Review: SingaporeSingaporean politics was rocked in June by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings, who accused him of abusing his power. Their main grievance concerned what they considered the prime minister’s efforts to acquire and preserve the family home. His actions, they argued, ran contrary to the dying wishes of their father, Lee Kuan Yew, who…

Latest Singapore Economic Roadmap Marks Time

Latest Singapore Economic Roadmap Marks TimeAnyone familiar with past economic Singapore plans for facing the future would recall how radical they could be. Then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee in the early 1960s led with bold industrialisation plans centered on the Jurong area and on the late 1960s decision to allow foreign banks to set up the Asia Currency Unit…

Is Singapore Prepared for its Future?

Is Singapore Prepared for its Future?Everything big or small is planned in Singapore. The next big thing in the economy – Greentech and Medtech – is centrally conceived. The next prime minister has been chosen. His own successor is in the making. Even the maximum walking-distance between one’s home and the next park is centrally-determined – it’s 10 minutes. But…

The Riddle of Singapore’s Stalled Productivity

The Riddle of Singapore’s Stalled ProductivityThe economic success of Singapore is not debatable. This leads many observers and even insiders to think of the city-state as a model of economic development. However, it should be rather thought of as an experiment in social planning. And social planning always bears a cost. This cost might endanger the future success of the…

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 Fires

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 FiresIndonesian forest fires, fanned by an extended drought associated with El Nino, delivered more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than the entire European Union, an astounding 11.3 million tonnes per day against 8.9 million tonnes for the EU, according to a new study. The study, written  by nine climate scientists from Kings College London in…

Singapore Shocks its Neighbor to the North

Singapore Shocks its Neighbor to the NorthThere is more than meets the eye in the Singapore investigation into 1MDB and the subsequent forced closure by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) of the local operations of Swiss private bank BSI. This was the first time in decades that the MAS has resorted to such actions. BSI has also been heavily fined…

1MBD Starts to Come Apart

1MBD Starts to Come ApartThe decision on May 24 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to force the closure of BSI Bank Ltd – the first merchant bank to be closed in Singapore in 32 years – means that after months of last-ditch defense in Malaysia, the scandal over the state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd is finally starting to unravel…

Singapore, Hong Kong Catch Cold from Neighbors

Singapore, Hong Kong Catch Cold from NeighborsThe economies of Asia’s prosperous city-states Hong Kong and Singapore seem set to be about the worst economic performers in Asia this year as world trade falters and the air goes out of once buoyant property markets. Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, John Tsang, has just forecast growth of 1-2 percent in 2016 after 2.5 percent…

Questions Linger over Singapore’s Hepatitis C Outbreak

Questions Linger over Singapore’s Hepatitis C OutbreakPublic apologies from Singapore's ministers are a rarity from a government used to holding its citizens accountable for their behavior, especially at the polls. Yet, as Singapore's health minister apologized to affected patients and their families over a Hepatitis C outbreak in the nation's leading public hospital, questions lingered over the government's response.  On Dec.…

Singapore Healthcare System Delayed Reporting Virus Outbreak

Singapore Healthcare System Delayed Reporting Virus OutbreakFor reasons that are unclear, Singapore’s leading public hospital – the one that Patriarch Lee Kuan Yew died in – delayed for months telling the public that an outbreak of hepatitis C had infected 23 kidney patients while receiving treatment, and that five had died. The episode marks a blip in the history of the…
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