Thursday 25 July 2013

PM Lee Hsien Loong lauds effort put into Our Singapore Conversation

By Andrea Ong, The Straits Times, 24 Jul 2013

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosted about 30 members of Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) to tea yesterday, to thank them for their efforts and good work over the past year.

His chat with members of the OSC committee and secretariat and volunteer facilitators lasted for over two hours.

"Cheered that the OSC dialogues have been meaningful, and have produced many good ideas," he said in a Facebook post last night. "The sessions helped Singaporeans understand others' aspirations and concerns."

Mr Lee unveiled the national conversation on Singapore's future at his National Day message last August. He has pledged to talk about some issues raised through the OSC dialogues at the National Day Rally on Aug 18.

Committee members at yesterday's tea said Mr Lee was keen to find out more about their experiences and what they learnt from the sessions.

Fresh graduate Stanley Chia, 25, felt the OSC differed from previous exercises as it was not just about "us listening to what the Government has to say about policies" but people engaging and learning from each other.

Noting that the OSC is the largest government engagement effort so far with some 46,000 participants, MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC Denise Phua said the process reflected the need to continue engaging and encouraging "citizen-driven solutions".

Some members asked Mr Lee about what comes next. Singapore Muslim Women's Association board member Noorul Fatha As'art said: "There is a certain degree of expectation from the public for something concrete."

Now that the OSC has raised the bar on government-people engagement, the process should not stop, said Dr Noorul, 34. "Trying to make our country a better place is an ongoing process."

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