SINGAPORE (Feb 8): Analysts and market watchers are expecting Singapore’s Budget 2019, scheduled to be unveiled on Feb 18, to be clearly aimed at sweetening the ground ahead of a general election that could be called as early as this year.

In fact, the size and nature of expenditures could be an important factor in handicapping the likely election date, as a generous budget may be a sign that elections could be brought forward to this year.

For Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is widely tipped to eventually succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the stakes are high. National budgets are a statement of a country’s priorities and ambitions, and are closely watched by businesses, financial markets and ordinary citizens.

Moreover, Singapore faces many new and mounting challenges, including the country’s increasing ageing population, the need to invest in new infrastructure to maintain the economy’s competitiveness, helping local businesses and workers survive disruptions, and more.

Find out more in this week’s The Edge Singapore (Issue 868, week of Feb 11), on sale now at newsstands. Subscribers can log in and read the story or click here to subscribe.