S'pore minister: Take downturn to plan for better times

The storm is not yet over for the electronics and IT sector, but we can still look for a silver lining, and prepare for better times, Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Lim Swee Say said yesterday.

SINGAPORE--The storm is not yet over for the electronics and IT sector, but we can still look for a silver lining, and prepare for better times, Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Lim Swee Say said yesterday.

He called the downturn cyclical, admitted that times would probably get worse before getting better, but said the decline would speed up the restructuring in electronics.

"While there is not much we can do to alter the course or change the pace of the global cyclical downturn," he said at the opening of NH Techno Glass Singapore's LCD mother glass plant at Tuas, "there is much we can do to improve the competitive positioning of Singapore in the global economy."

So, even though many jobs will be cut during this low, foresight can ensure that when the market recovers, the Republic will be in the right areas to pick up the new jobs when they re-appear.

One new area is the LCD industry. "Last year, the semiconductor industry produced an output of S$25 billion. With this strong foundation, we are well-positioned to leverage on our industrial capabilities and enter the LCD industry," Lim reasoned.

"As we go through this cyclical downturn, our challenge is to minimise the threat of hollowing out existing industry," he told The Business Times, "and at the same time, maximize the opportunities presented by new growth sectors."

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