Friday, 15 August 2014

Cheers for Mr Lee Kuan Yew at 49th National Day dinner

By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 14 Aug 2014

FORMER prime minister Lee Kuan Yew last night continued his unbroken record of attending every single National Day dinner in his Tanjong Pagar constituency.

On arriving for the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru dinner at the Tanjong Pagar Community Club, Mr Lee, 90, was cheered loudly by some 900 residents, grassroots leaders and clan association representatives. He then rose to sing the national anthem and recite the national pledge with the audience.

In brief remarks, he wished them a happy National Day. "Every year we are gathered here. In the past 20 years, there has not been one year we have made negative progress and that is something special. It is due to the work of our people. I'm confident we will continue to make progress."

Referring to upgrading projects for Tanjong Pagar, he added: "Without progress, higher GDP every year, we will not be able to do this. It is because we have the (necessary resources) that we can proceed with all these obligations to our people."

The audience then made a toast to Singapore - and to Mr Lee, who turns 91 on Sept 16.

Assurance for the middle aged, middle income
By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 14 Aug 2014

MIDDLE-AGED and middle-income Singaporeans need not feel burdened when it comes to taking care of seniors, and will themselves have room to seize opportunities and succeed, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

He explained that recent measures such as the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package to keep health-care bills for pioneers affordable, and the MediShield Life medical insurance scheme, provided a sense of assurance for older Singaporeans that their needs would be looked after. By the same token, there will be opportunities for younger and middle-aged Singaporeans, including for continued education and an environment in which they can succeed, Mr Chan added.

This environment will be stable yet competitive, where job opportunities can be created, he said at a National Day dinner in Tanjong Pagar, where he is an MP. "We will make sure our middle-income (Singaporeans) continue to keep pace with the demands of life in Singapore," he said, as he reiterated the Government's commitment to take care of all Singaporeans.

His comments, delivered in Malay, Mandarin and English, come ahead of Sunday's National Day Rally, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is expected to speak on retirement adequacy, creating more opportunities for Singaporeans to pursue their dreams and improving the living environment in Singapore.

Mr Chan said Singaporeans who are going to be tomorrow's seniors will be given Central Provident Fund and Medisave top-ups to help them save enough for their future retirement. Housing Board grants to help them own their own homes as an "insurance against the needs of old age" will also continue. Strong family and social networks for support will also be put in place, he added.

"Every generation will do our best to take care of seniors", particularly those who are weak and vulnerable, said Mr Chan.

At the same time, current policies must be sustainable so as not to saddle future generations with hefty bills, he added.

"We want them to scale the mountains of the world, not to be burdened by the debts of the older generation. This is why we want to leave behind healthy reserves for our younger generation," he said.

At last night's dinner, Mr Chan and fellow Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah, who is also Senior Minister of State (Law and Education), also highlighted some of the constituency's ongoing upgrading projects, such as new lifts and linkways.

New flats in the area will also create opportunities for younger Singaporeans looking to set up home, to return to the area to be closer to their families.

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