Singapore PM’s congratulatory message to Donald Trump sparks online storm
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Singapore PM’s congratulatory message to Donald Trump sparks online storm

TWITTER and other social media platforms were awash with comments after Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong offered his congratulations to Donald Trump for winning the U.S. presidential race.

Some Internet users were appalled by the message, and understandably so as it was just on Sunday that the Republican singled out the small island state as one of the countries to blame for stealing American jobs.

“Can someone tell our PM that Trump said that Singapore steals America’s job.. How to cultivate strong ties? Neck tie maybe can,” wrote Twitter user @Zuhairi_Idris, responding to an article on Lee’s remarks.

It was also just this week that PM Lee told Parliament that the country would reserve its presidential seat for a candidate from the ethnic Malay-Muslim community when elections for the post are held next year.

SEE ALSO: Next Singaporean president will be from ethnic Malay community, says PM Lee

Throughout his exhaustive campaign, however, Trump has made it known that in his America, there would be no room for Muslim citizens. He famously suggested last December a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

“If Singapore decided to have a Malay to be the next president & Trump dislikes Muslims, how are they gg to work tgt?” pointed out another Twitter user @hzqhxmin_.

Trump, a 70-year-old real estate mogul with no experience in holding elected office, defied all odds to beat his opponent Democrat Hillary Clinton for the world’s most coveted seat of power in the early hours of Wednesday.

His victory sent the world reeling and markets into a tailspin, with observers calling the results “America’s Brexit” as predictions had earlier suggested the likelihood of a Clinton win.

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President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist after giving his acceptance speech as his wife Melania Trump, right, and their son Barron Trump follow him during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. Pic: AP

In Singapore, which counts the U.S. as one of its biggest trade partners, PM Lee was among the first world leaders to congratulate Trump.

“Congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump! His candidacy took many by surprise. At each stage, he defied expectations, and his journey has ultimately taken him to White House,” Lee wrote in a Facebook post.

“It has been a contentious, ugly election season that has exposed a bitter divide in the American people. Many will celebrate this result, while others will understandably be surprised and disappointed.

“But like the Brexit referendum in June, Mr Trump’s victory is part of a broader pattern in developed countries – reflecting a deep frustration with the way things are, and a strong wish to reassert a sense of identity, and somehow to change the status quo,” he added.

Lee went on to say that voters in the U.S. had voted in a president they felt best represents them.

As such, he said, Singapore fully respects their decision.

“We will continue to work together with the United States to cultivate our strong ties,” he said.

In an article on South China Morning Post, political and economic observers were quoted saying the election result would weigh heavily on U.S.-Singapore ties.

“The uncertainty about the direction of America’s foreign and trade policies will be problematic for Singapore, given that our economy relies heavily on global trade,” Bernard Aw, a Singapore-based economist with IHS Markit, was quoted saying.

“Any rise in trade protectionism and threats to global security will have a strong negative impact on Singapore’s open economy.

“Increasing volatility in global financial markets, including major swings in commodity prices may also affect Singapore indirectly,” Aw said.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump’s election victory rattles Asian observers, tumbles stocks

David Adelman, a former US ambassador to Singapore, said Trump would likely dial back on his predecessor Barack Obama’s famous “Asia pivot” strategy, which was aimed at containing rising Asian powerhouse China.

“A Trump victory clearly does not bode well for a continuation of the Obama trade and investment initiatives which have been the centrepiece of America’s pivot to Asia.”