Past and Future
When we started writing this book in early 2001 the government’s oﬃcial growth forecast was that the economy could grow by as much as 7 per cent in that year. In the previous year growth had been 9.9 per cent and in the year before that 5.9 per cent. It thus seemed that Singapore had recovered well from the Asian ﬁnancial crisis. By the time we were ﬁnishing the book in November 2001 the oﬃcial growth forecast for 2001 was Ϫ3 per cent and for 2002 it was between Ϫ2 per cent and 2 per cent. This would be the most signiﬁcant recession in Singapore’s modern history. Forecasts of the number of job losses were revised upwards during the year and are expected to continue well into 2002. In most countries this would not be thought a good time to call a general election, especially if one was not due until August 2002, as was then the case in Singapore. However, in Singapore things are diﬀerent and in October 2001 the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) called the ‘snappiest of snap elections’ by making 25 October Nomination Day and 3 November Polling Day, thus allowing the legal minimum of nine days for canvassing. As we explain in Appendix B the PAP knew that it could not possibly lose the election and would deﬁnitely form the next government. It can be rather tetchy when its share of the votes falls and more opposition candidates enter parliament....
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