Singapore to ensure affordable housing, health, education: Prime Minister

Joyce Koh | Bloomberg | Singapore

Jakarta   /  Sun, August 19, 2018  /  09:50 pm

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers his opening address at the 32nd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit in Singapore on April 28, 2018. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)

Singapore’s government will ensure the cost of housing, health care and education will remain affordable as households worry about rising living costs, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

While the economy is doing well, unemployment is relatively low and wages have increased, many Singaporeans still feel their incomes aren’t sufficient to cope with higher costs, Lee said in his annual National Day Rally speech on Sunday.

He cited several reasons for this, including young families spending on housing and pre-school education, medical costs for the elderly, lifestyle costs, such as travel and food, and inflation.

Lee also made these additional comments:

Water: The cost of producing clean water increased significantly over the years. Water will always be a precious and strategic resource, and a sensitive foreign policy matter for the nation. The government needs to build more desalination plants to produce clean water in Singapore.

Electricity tariffs: Fixing electricity prices isn’t financially sustainable, not best way to help low-income families.

Consumer goods: To help curb the price of infant milk formula, the government has set up a task team to, among other things, simplify import processes and tighten regulations for labeling. Average prices of formula milk have dropped.

Food centers: Since many Singaporeans eat out, the government will be building more of them. It will also nominate “hawker culture” to be included on the UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.