PM Lee to speak at World Economic Forum on Asean

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in Hanoi today to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Asean.

He will speak at the opening plenary on how Asean has harnessed the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to better position the region for the future economy. Singapore is Asean chair this year.

PM Lee will be accompanied on his two-day trip to Vietnam by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information as well as Transport.

In his absence, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean will be the Acting Prime Minister.

Other Asean leaders slated to speak at the opening plenary are Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

This year's WEF on Asean is focused on the issue of technological change brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how Asean can and should deal with its impact.

Among the topics that will be discussed by speakers at sessions this week is the future of work and how the region can create good jobs for its growing workforce in the face of disruption.

Asean's labour force is forecast to expand by 11,000 workers every day for the next 15 years and yet industrial robots are competing with low-skilled manufacturing labour, artificial intelligence is threatening service jobs and self-driving vehicles are already at work in parts of the region.

Another major topic on the agenda is supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship as a way to face disruption head on.

The Straits Times' editor Warren Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, will be moderating a panel discussion on the future of jobs in Asean.

ST associate editor Ravi Velloor will be on a panel on Asia's new balance of power, and he will moderate a panel on how Asean businesses and governments can collaborate to ensure that infrastructure and cities have greater resilience built into their design to withstand the impact of climate change, population growth and urbanisation.