Singaporeans urged to brace for challenging new year
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore has strengths to weather the current recession and he called on Singaporeans to brace themselves for a challenging Year of the Ox, Xinhua reported.
In his lunar new year message released on Sunday morning, the Prime Minister said there is no need to be despondent about the downturn.
" Singapore has strengths which will let us outlast this recession," he said, "we have the resources, the programs, and the tenacity to ride the storm. "
The Prime Minister said the ox symbolizes fortitude and hard work in the Chinese zodiac. "It is not a fast or aggressive animal, but is strong and completely dependable. In the same way, we can see through the year with quiet resolution."
Talking about the 2009 Budget which was announced on Thursday, the Prime Minister said the government has thought over very carefully on seeking the President's approval to draw on reserves. He said the reserves were built up patiently over the years, so that in a critical situation they could be used to mount a vigorous response.
"By using our reserves for the two special schemes, we are making clear that we intend to respond to the crisis decisively and with all means at our disposal," Lee said, but he said when things return to normal, the habit of putting something aside in the reserves should be resumed.
The Prime Minister also noted the important roles of community and family. He said family unit is the bedrock in all communities, and the most important life-raft in times of crisis.
"In this festive period, let us remember that Chinese New Year is a time for togetherness. It is the time for families to come together to rejoice in the company of their loved ones and to build lasting memories and bonds," he said.