Budget 2019 to focus on education, healthcare and security: Heng Swee Keat

Janet Ong
Finance Editor
Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat speaks at a UBS client conference in Singapore, January 14, 2019. (PHOTO: Reuters)

Singapore’s 2019 Budget will focus on its growing needs in education, healthcare, security and defence, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Sunday (20 January).

He also highlighted the importance of keeping Singapore’s economy vibrant amid global uncertainties and rapid technological changes, local media reported, citing comments made by the minister on the sidelines of an event.

“Budget will focus on these very key areas – in security, on taking care of social needs, especially in education, healthcare and, of course, in transforming our economy,” said Heng, who is widely tipped to be the island state’s next prime minister.

When asked about how the recent rejection of the Brexit deal could affect Singapore, Heng said that the nation has to be “very watchful about global developments”.

He noted that while growing protectionism around the world was a concern, Singapore’s response has been to stay focused on restructuring the economy and find meaningful partnerships around the world.

Separately, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who spoke on the sidelines of another event on Sunday, said the 2019 Budget would not see “a large spike in defence spending” following the announcement on Friday that Singapore would be purchasing a number of F-35 fighter planes.

Heng is scheduled to deliver the Budget statement in Parliament on 18 February.

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