Sunday 26 August 2012

DPM Tharman urges new citizens to form ties with S'poreans

By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia, 25 Aug 2012

Nearly 3,000 new citizens will receive their citizenship certificates in island-wide ceremonies to be held by the different GRCs over the weekend.

Speaking at the National Citizenship Ceremony held at the Supreme Court Auditorium, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that the basis for the country's success is Singaporeans who live and work as one united people to forge a better future for all.

Presenting certificates to 128 new citizens, Mr Tharman said Singapore's circumstances have changed with each decade and will keep changing.

But Singapore's ability to keep improving as a nation and its ability to overcome problems will continue to depend on the same national virtues that have brought the country to where it is today.

Mr Tharman said: "What are these national virtues? That we each strive to improve in whatever we do, that we make the effort to work together and to make friendships with each other regardless of our diverse origins.

"That we provide real opportunities for Singaporeans, for every Singaporean, to discover his or her strengths or potential and to grow, regardless of their starting point. That we welcome committed people like you, to contribute to our nation."

Participating in the national conversation is one area where new citizens can contribute, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who welcomed another 250 new citizens at a ceremony in Sembawang GRC.

Mr Khaw said: "We hope they'll help us also to co-create the future. The Prime Minister asked, 'what is the vision of all of us - Singapore in the next 20 years, what would we like it to be?'

"So I asked them to join in the national conversation - give us their ideas, their experiences - how they think Singapore can be even better. As I reminded them, Singapore we have come a long way, but it's always a work in progress.

"We try to find out with their different experiences, their different skill sets, maybe they have different ideas on how to make this community even better. I think that way, we can make an even better Singapore for everyone."

Mr Khaw said one way the new citizens can integrate better is to participate in grassroots activities.

At the citizenship ceremony in Sembawang GRC, 6 in 10 of those who received their new Singaporean identity cards are from Malaysia.

One of the new citizens, Lee Weng Khor, said: "As a new citizen, we come from different backgrounds. I think to participate and give back is kind of important. At the same time, we can know more and we can gel into the community."

The citizenship ceremonies also gave the new citizens a chance to soak up the Hari Raya festivities.

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