Bridges: What role has SICC played in supporting businesses during the pandemic?
Mills: The Chamber supports our members in multiple ways. It continues its 184-year tradition of being a credible source of information and a credible interlocutor between business and government and between government and business. It is a connector of people and this has been ramped up during the pandemic as more people need to connect with potential customers, investors and partners. It provides a platform for businesses to come together to share expertise and knowledge, concerns and solutioning. The Chamber promotes collaborative innovation by its annual business awards: www.siccawards.com.sg
It continues to be responsive to what its members want and need. For example, a clear voice on anti-racism and anti-ageism and an Interest Group on Mental Wellbeing – one of the silver linings from the pandemic has been the way businesses are now prepared to recognize the importance of mental health and to facilitate it.
How important is Japanese investment in Singapore?
Japanese investment has been important to Singapore since the earliest days of the republic. Foreign direct investment was the enabler of jobs and, therefore, a better quality of life for Singaporeans. Japanese investment was and still is part of this. And it is a two-way street. Japanese expatriates appreciate Singapore’s capabilities, its cleanliness and the high degree of personal safety it affords to all residents.
How well positioned is Singapore’s economy to play a more active role in the region, post-pandemic?
Singapore already plays a very active role in ASEAN and across the wider region. It is a major investor in many economies and its hub status for wealth management, business and legal services remains in demand. Even more importantly, its growing importance as an innovation hub, and one with finance, is relevant to the region and will continue to be even more relevant in the coming decades.