Monday, 30 April 2012

New council to help newcomers fit in

PA Integration Council will be led by MP Fatimah Lateef
By Felicia Choo, The Straits Times, 29 Apr 2012

Integration efforts will get a boost on July 1 when the People's Association (PA) Integration Council is formed.

The aim of the council is to provide strategic direction and focus to PA's efforts to integrate new immigrants into the community.

This move was announced yesterday by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, at the Integration Carnival 2012.

The council will be led by Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef as its adviser and comprise 15 integration and naturalisation champions (INCs), representing each of the 15 group representation constituencies.

Dr Fatimah, who was also at the event, said she is interested in holding a citizenship kind of conference at a national level, 'where we can get members and their families to come and share, as well as to give them a platform to showcase what they have been doing'.

There is also a possibility of involving new immigrants in community projects as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes, she added.

The carnival at the Singapore Zoo, which is into its second year, attracted more than 3,500 Singaporeans and new immigrants - around 1,000 more than last year's turnout.

Organised by a team of INCs who are grassroots leaders comprising Singaporeans and new immigrants, it serves to deepen the sense of belonging to one's community and strengthen national identity.

'Through regular and meaningful interactions, we will be better able to appreciate one another's rich and diverse cultures and customs, as well as to acknowledge and adopt our uniquely Singaporean lifestyle and core values,' said Mr Iswaran, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs, and Trade and Industry.

Mr Daniel Goh, 44, a Singaporean who turned up with his Vietnamese wife and their three-year-old daughter, applauded the outreach effort.

'Such events are helpful in bringing Singaporeans and new citizens together to have shared knowledge and experiences, and instilling confidence in them that they have made the right choice in becoming citizens,' said the engineer.

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