Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Scrutinising Tan Jee Say’s economic plan

Keivin Teo
New Asia Republic
May 17, 2011 (source)


The recent General Elections of 2011 threw out a few plans and proposals covering diverse areas that impact on a typical Singaporean’s life. One of such plans which caught the attention of many is Singapore Democratic Party candidate Mr Tan Jee Say’s $60 billion National Regeneration Plan which is split up evenly and rolled out to six respective areas – industry, enterprise, schools, healthcare, community and family.

In the section of the plan dubbed as the “Enterprise Regeneration Fund”, Jee Say proposes that the government devotes $10 billion to the creative industry and enterprise (*note that this article will only address the enterprise regeneration fund section of Jee Say’s National Regeneration Plan). The creative industry encompasses economic activities such as advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, Research and Development, software, toys and games, TV and radio, and video games.  The proposal is aimed at enterprising Singaporeans especially the well-travelled and well-educated ones who want to start up a company within the industry. Driven by individual creativity, skill and talent, such economic activities have the goal of generating wealth and jobs. Jee Say proposes that the government provides via the regeneration fund grants of up to $1 million on the basis that the ones running the start-up are willing to commit a significant sum to the venture at the minimal ceiling of 20%.

The first response to Jee Say’s proposal is whether its implementation will follow the industrial targeting practices, which our government has done previously, or at the opposite end of the spectrum, letting the free market decide for itself. Since the spotlight is now on the creative industry, the devil is in the details of Jee Say’s proposal, which is anticipated to be released to the public in due course. Thus, the essential questions are firstly how much the government is to be involved in Jee Say’s proposal to promote the creative industry and its capacity of involvement? Hopefully, these questions can be addressed in upcoming publications by Jee Say.


The mode of governance in enabling a creative industry should be a supportive one, rather than a top down technocratic approach. Thus, the relationship with industry should  be one of partnership rather than a hierarchical one with the government at the apex.

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