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Singapore's economy to grow by over 1 percent in 2016: PM

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by December 31, 2016 General

SINGAPORE, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) — Singapore’s economy is expected to grow by more than 1 percent in 2016, still positive though lower than initial forecasts, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his New Year message on Saturday.

“2016 has been a full year. One major focus has been the economy. Overall, we are not doing badly, considering the global economic uncertainties,” said Lee.

The labor market has eased, unemployment remains low and new jobs are being created, he said.

The prime minister said another major focus in 2016 has been strengthening ties with major partners to create opportunities for Singapore companies and Singaporeans.

“Prospects for the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, have dimmed, but we continue to pursue other avenues of economic cooperation, including the RCEP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” said Lee.

Singapore concluded a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia in 2016, he said.

On Singapore-China cooperation, Chongqing Connectivity Initiative is making progress. Singapore companies are developing Kendal Industrial Park in Indonesia. Most recently, Singapore signed with Malaysia a bilateral agreement for the high-speed rail.

At the same time, Lee said Singaporeans are making a City for All Ages, and the country has also updated political institutions, in particular the Elected Presidency.

“The next Presidential election will be reserved for Malay candidates. I look forward to Singapore again having a Malay head of state since Yusof Ishak, our first president,” said Lee.

The year ahead may look uncertain, but Lee is confident that Singaporeans will pull through the challenges, citing Olympian Joseph Schooling, Paralympian Yip Pin Xiu, para-swimmers Theresa Goh and other upstanding Singaporeans who have done extraordinary things.

“The Singapore story is the story of ordinary Singaporeans doing extraordinary things together,” Lee said, adding “with this enduring spirit, we will make Singapore a better and happier home for ourselves and for our next generation.”

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