What does 2016 have in store?

Is there more turbulence ahead for Asia in 2016? Almost 400 business leaders, academics, government officials and The Straits Times readers attended the fourth ST Global Outlook Forum, held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Nov 20, where this issue was discussed.

Presented by OCBC Premier Banking and partnered by Mercedes-Benz, the forum brought together marquee regional and global experts, along with experienced Straits Times journalists, to discuss what lies ahead next year.

The forum opened with a keynote speech from Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic & Social Policies. He talked about world affairs “shifting to a new phase”, and said 2016 is likely to be marked by tensions and slower growth, but growth opportunities still exist for the innovative. The Q&A session moderated by The Straits Times Editor Warren Fernandez also saw participants discussing the region’s challenges with Mr Shanmugaratnam.

There was a special address by Ambassador Ong Keng Yong focusing on the ASEAN Economy Community (AEC), South China Sea and Malaysia at a crossroads, followed by Mr Samuel Tsien, Group CEO of OCBC Bank, questioning if the AEC will be a game changer for Asia.

The panel discussion involved notable personalities like Professor Huang Jing, Lee Foundation Professor on US-China Relations, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Dr Sanjaya Baru, Director of Geo-Economics & Strategy, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London; and Mr Raman Singh, President, Mundipharma Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & North Africa. From The Straits Times, there were Mr Shannon Teoh, Malaysia Bureau Chief; Ms Lee Su Shyan, Business Editor; and Mr Reme Ahmad, Assistant Foreign Editor. Mr Ravi Velloor, The Straits Times Associate Editor (Global Affairs) moderated the hour-long session with engaging questions from the floor.

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