Saturday, 3 October 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore's new Cabinet sworn in on 1 October 2015


Panel being set up to chart future of economy
It will create opportunities for Singapore, says PM; discussions also on future challenges
By Wong Siew Ying, The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2015

A new committee will be set up to look at how Singapore can continue creating opportunities and help workers and businesses adapt amid a weaker global economy and a leaner workforce.

The committee on "The Future Economy" will be chaired by new Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said as he outlined the challenges facing his new Government at its swearing-in at the Istana last night.

The committee comes alongside a new exhibition titled "The Future of Us" that will open at Gardens by the Bay in December and explore what Singapore in the future could be like.

Exhibition themes will include the future of lifelong learning, a greener city, volunteerism and how technology can transform the way people live and work.

Focused discussions around these themes will also be held to explore ideas on how the Government and people can build Singapore's future together.

The exhibition is the last major SG50 event, said Mr Lee, who hoped it would "launch us into the next chapter of our Singapore Story".


"We welcome all views and will engage widely, because every voice counts": Our Singapore Conversation will move ahead to focus on discussions on the future, says PM Lee Hsien Loong. bit.ly/sgcabinet
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Thursday, October 1, 2015


He invited all Singaporeans to actively take part in these programmes, saying the Government welcomed all views and would engage widely as every voice counts.

"I also urge Singaporeans to go beyond making suggestions or discussing ideas or critiquing policies," he added. "Commit to what you believe in, roll up your sleeves, get involved, and come together to make things happen."

Mr Lee said the Government was planning ahead as Singaporeans expected their leaders to do so.

He also pledged to live up to the trust voters had placed in his team at the Sept 11 General Election, when about 70 per cent of voters chose the People's Action Party to form the Government.

He asked citizens to have the same belief in their country, saying: "Singapore is special not just because of what we have achieved today, but also because of what we can look forward to tomorrow."

"Singaporeans are not defined by the accolades we receive, but by our constant striving to always do better, whatever the circumstances," he added.



Speaking before Mr Lee, President Tony Tan Keng Yam noted that Singapore has continued to find strength in growing diversity, and the Government sought to engage citizens in shaping the future.

But much remains to be done, he said, noting that the world economy has hit a rough patch and at home, Singapore faces challenges of an ageing population and a shrinking workforce.

"If we fail to address these challenges robustly, our economy will falter, lose its vibrancy and we will find it harder to improve the lives of our people," Dr Tan added.

He presided over the ceremony to swear in what he called a "bold, strong and forward-looking" Cabinet with experience and new faces.

Thirty-one office bearers, starting with PM Lee, took their oaths, led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, during the one-hour ceremony at the Istana's State Room.

Mr Lee said the new Cabinet aims to provide the most effective government to tackle complex challenges, and prepare the next team to take over. "We are not done building Singapore, and we will never be done," he said. "The Singapore Story belongs to all of us. If we have faith that Singapore will endure and thrive, and put our heart and soul into building Singapore, then we will prevail, and secure our place in history."




The new Cabinet was sworn-in at the Istana last night. My team will work with all citizens in this new chapter of the...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday, October 1, 2015





ALL HAVE ROLE IN HAPPY OUTCOME

We - the Government and the people - have to write this chapter together. We will debate and argue over what this chapter should contain, how the story should develop. We will do that online and offline, in civil society and in Parliament. That's normal, and healthy.

But at the end we are all co-authors of the chapter. We all have to work together, and we all want the story to have a happy outcome.

PM LEE, inviting Singaporeans to work with the Government to write the next chapter for the country









'Steady hands and fresh perspectives' in new Cabinet
Team formed to provide most effective government and prepare next leaders to take over after next election: PM
By Walter Sim, The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2015

The new Cabinet has both experienced and younger ministers to steer Singapore through complex challenges, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

The experienced ministers will provide steady hands, while younger leaders will bring fresh perspectives, he said in a speech yesterday after the new Cabinet was sworn in.

The objectives he had in forming the team, he said, were to provide the most effective government, and to prepare the next team to take over soon after the next election, which must be held by 2021.

With complex challenges and issues that cross multiple domains, he appointed Mr Teo Chee Hean, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Mr Khaw Boon Wan coordinating ministers for national security, economic and social policies, and infrastructure, respectively.

"These complex challenges require fresh and bold ideas, careful balancing of different goals and close coordination across multiple agencies," said Mr Lee.


"Complex challenges require fresh and bold ideas, careful balancing of different goals ... this is what my new #SGCabinet, with a combination of experienced and new ministers, is designed to do": PM Lee Hsien Loong. RECAP: http://bit.ly/sgcabinet
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Thursday, October 1, 2015


Many countries have found similar challenges too hard to resolve, but in Singapore "we can get things done and we will make it happen".

Singapore faces threats to national security from such groups as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, he said.

It is also susceptible to tensions in the South China Sea that are unsettling the region.

Closer to home, there may be spillover effects of political problems or racial tensions in neighbouring countries, which may complicate bilateral ties as well, he added.

In economic and social policies, Singapore has to balance an expected slowdown in growth, given an ageing population and uncertain global conditions, with the need for growth to create opportunities for Singaporeans and to improve lives.

Also, the fruits of growth must be used to invest in the future as well as to strengthen social safety nets.

Singapore has done well in infrastructure, compared to many countries. But there are ambitious plans to build on what is in place over the next 20 to 30 years to "create a new city, and an outstanding living environment for all of us", said Mr Lee.

In the interim, there is still the need to improve standards and remedy shortcomings, he added.

The clear mandate for the ruling People's Action Party at the Sept 11 polls was a sign of continued political stability that has attracted multinational firms to invest here.

One such company increased its stake with another billion-dollar investment after the poll results.

"I have no doubt that the election result boosted this investor's confidence that they were making the right decision, and that they could be confident Singaporeans would keep our fundamentals strong. I am sure that our neighbours noticed too, as have others," he said.

The mandate also allowed PM Lee to "reinforce my team and pursue renewal vigorously".

"The clock is ticking, we have no time to lose," he said, noting that there were new appointees in almost all ministries.

The younger leaders "have to be tested, learn the ropes, prove themselves, and shake down as a team".

"Increasingly, they will carry the Government's programme - initiating, explaining and executing policies, and persuading people to support these policies, which will increasingly be their policies."

The older ministers will provide the team with depth and breadth, as well as guidance and mentorship.

To Singaporeans, Mr Lee said: "You have entrusted Singapore to me and my team, not just because of what we have done, but also because you are confident of what we will do. You trust that we will act on our words and live up to our promises, and we will."





Cabinet swearing-in: A solemn ceremony, but one with a strong sense of family
By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2015

The thick haze made the Istana grounds a blur but the glittering chandeliers in its State Room cast a warm glow over the solemn ceremony last night, when 31 MPs were sworn in as ministers and junior office-holders.

The mood was solemn as they took their oaths before President Tony Tan Keng Yam, watched by 700 guests, including their spouses and parents.

They included senior civil servants, grassroots leaders, retired political giants like former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan, students and foreign diplomats.

All eyes were fixed on the office- holders as they entered the State Room in order of seniority with their spouses.

The line-up included newly appointed junior minister Chee Hong Tat, who typically keeps his family out of the media glare, as well as Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo, who walked hand-in-hand with her husband.

Leading the way were the junior ministers, followed by the full ministers, then the three coordinating ministers. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching came at the end.

The clatter of chairs being pushed back filled the State Room as everyone rose to welcome President Tan, who presided over the ceremony flanked by PM Lee and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

Those invited came as early as 5.30pm and soon filled the State Room as well as the Reception Room and Banquet Room, where they watched the one-hour ceremony on giant screens.

The ceremony came to a close at 8.30pm, after PM Lee's speech in Malay, Mandarin and English on the future direction of Singapore.

The solemnity of the occasion quickly gave way to chatter and congratulations, much like a cosy family gathering. MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling, a new mother, showed off smartphone snaps of her two-month-old son while PM Lee and his wife congratulated Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo on the birth of his first child this week.

Mr Choo told The Straits Times: "While the mood was sombre, I also felt a deep sense of excitement at the key priorities that PM Lee outlined.

"Whatever we do now will affect the next generation. I felt this all the more as a new father."

New MP Amrin Amin brought his proud father, who had never visited the Istana. The strong family resemblance did not go unnoticed by MP Edwin Tong. "He went up to my father when I wasn't around, greeted him and said, 'When I walked past you, I knew you were Amrin's father'," said Mr Amrin.

There was little hint of the heat of the hustings a month ago, as politicians from the People's Action Party and Workers' Party bantered with one another.

Singapore Management University psychology professor and political observer David Chan, who was a guest, welcomed PM Lee's remarks on the need for coordinating ministers. Said Prof Chan: "The real issues faced by the people and society are often multifaceted and not neatly categorised into separate agencies."

Good coordination, he added, should lead to better policies that improve Singaporeans' lives.

As he headed home, Mr Amrin, 36, the youngest to be appointed an office-holder and who will take his oath as parliamentary secretary on Monday, was confident of Singapore's future. "We're looking forward to SG100."





Work hard to deserve people's trust: President
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2015

The surprise landslide win of the People's Action Party in the Sept 11 polls shows Singaporeans found Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his team worthy of their trust.

And the new Government must continue to ensure that the hard- won faith of the voters is well deserved, President Tony Tan Keng Yam told them last night.

Dr Tan, speaking at a ceremony to swear in the new Cabinet, which he praised as "bold, strong and forward-looking", also had advice for them.

"Singaporeans have chosen to place their trust in you because they believed you were the most worthy of that trust. The trust of the people is a precious thing. It does not come easy," he said.

"You must continue to strive to deserve that trust. You must continue to engage Singaporeans honestly and openly. You must continue to speak frankly with them on the tough issues and lead with humility," he added at his first Cabinet swearing-in ceremony since he became President in 2011.

Last evening, I swore in the PM and his Cabinet in a ceremony at the Istana. The Cabinet will be responsible for the...
Posted by Dr Tony Tan on Friday, October 2, 2015


Even as he welcomed the new Cabinet, he also took stock of the good progress Singapore had made in the last term of government.

The Government has worked hard to improve the lives of Singaporeans and has renewed its commitment to a more caring and inclusive society, said Dr Tan as he listed a raft of measures being undertaken - from economic restructuring to the introduction of lifelong medical insurance MediShield Life.

Dr Tan also noted that "we have remained cohesive in spite of a more diverse populace".

Fault lines such as race and religion can divide, and external forces can tug at the nation too - terrorism and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria remain a deep concern, he said.

"But despite our differences, we remain united," he said, adding that Singapore stayed true to the convictions of its first president, Mr Yusof Ishak, who saw the country's variety of race, language, religion and culture as a strength.

But a long road lies ahead, said Dr Tan.

The world economy has hit a rough patch, and Singapore grapples with an ageing population and sits in a volatile region that grows ever more uncertain.

In the Sept 11 General Election, he noted that Singaporeans sent a clear signal that they wanted to stay together in the face of regional and global uncertainties, and to work with the Government for a better future.

"Singaporeans are a good-hearted and strong-spirited people. They will stand together in the hardest of times," he said.

"And as they have shown over the past 50 years, they are capable of responding to exceptional leadership to accomplish remarkable things."










Welcomed Low Yen Ling, Baey Yam Keng 马炎庆, Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Amrin Amin on board at the Swearing-In...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, October 6, 2015












Janil Puthucheary and Koh Poh Koon - 许宝琨 were sworn in as Ministers of State today. Was happy to meet their families and...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, January 5, 2016






Hallmark of top leadership in Singapore
Editorial, The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2015

Yesterday's swearing-in of Singapore's political leadership marks the continuation of a journey that began six decades ago with Mr Lee Kuan Yew and other founding fathers. This bears mentioning as their demanding conception of leadership performance, particularly its ethical component, remains a touchstone for current leaders. In recent years, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has held up a philosophy of servant leadership that "begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve", as put by leadership guru Robert K. Greenleaf who is associated with the idea. Singaporeans who are grateful that political leadership here has been thus institutionalised would expect the fourth generation of leaders to emulate their predecessors and, at the same time, offer something of their own that is apt for the changing times.

Given these high expectations, the induction of untested political leaders might raise some eyebrows, even though those identified for high office have a strong track record in the civil service, the armed forces or the professions. As they have all been thrust into challenging roles before and have learnt how to learn fast on the job, there's a good chance they will rise to the challenge. Unlike selection methods elsewhere which depend on the free-for-all of the electoral process to throw up winners and survivors, in Singapore, credentials and character are scrutinised well before a baptism of fire, and mentorship and reviews are not neglected. Critics might consider the process elitist but it has evolved over the years and it is generally accepted that the people's touch is an indispensable quality of top leaders.

Crucial aspects of change in Singapore which fourth-generation leaders ought to keep in mind are social fragmentation and the stratification of interests. Gone forever are the days when a single set of policies, notably in public housing, could be applied across the board. Now, policies will have to be nuanced, applying a range of disciplines; and trade-offs will have to be transparently negotiated when ambitions exceed the resources that can be made available.

Next, they must be prepared for the emergence of a more educated and demanding electorate whose most vocal fringes include dissenters and sceptics. Whereas politics was often administration by other means in an earlier era, now leaders can expect people, especially millennials, to ask why and how a decision was made. And unlike the past when leaders could maintain a certain distance, and even an air of mystique, they will now find that a personal touch can lend much to the way they communicate and connect with people. Importantly, the next prime minister and his core team should never forget that all social endeavour is ultimately based on the vitality of the economy, so as to deliver on the quest for happiness, prosperity and progress for the nation.






Singapore Cabinet, with 4th generation leaders, to be sworn in today
In their midst is successor to PM Lee; event at Istana will keep to practice of involving people from all walks of life
By Wong Siew Ying, The Straits Times, 1 Oct 2015

The fourth generation of government leaders for Singapore, tasked with charting the country's future as it enters a new phase of nation-building after SG50, will be among those taking their oaths on Thursday (Oct 1) evening. In their midst is the successor to the Prime Minister.

PM Lee Hsien Loong said as much on Monday when, in announcing the new Cabinet and other office-holders, he said he wanted a new team ready to take over after the next general election.

Mr Lee made major changes to the Cabinet, thrusting new faces into political office as leadership renewal and succession become more urgent. The line-up is also longer, with 37 office-holders against 33 previously.

One significant change is the introduction of three coordinating ministers: Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and Mr Khaw Boon Wan. They will oversee cross-ministry issues and guide younger ministers. The scope of their work covers three primary areas: national security, economic and social policies, and infrastructure.

New MP Amrin Amin, who will be Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs, said the new Cabinet reflects a "system of mentorship" that will impart confidence to the younger office-holders. "There is change but at the same time, there is continuity because it has the firm steady hands of people who are experienced, who were tested, still providing the guidance and support."

Held a last meeting with the old Cabinet today. We thanked Lui Tuck Yew, Lee Yi Shyan and Hawazi Daipi, who will be...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The evening's event at the Istana will keep to the practice of involving people from all walks of life. About 700 guests - including representatives from the Singapore Public Service, diplomatic corps, grassroots, unions, business leaders, educators, religious leaders, and students - will attend the ceremony.

It will be broadcast live on national television.

Among the 31 office-holders to be sworn in are newcomers such as former senior civil servants Ong Ye Kung and Chee Hong Tat, as well as former chief of defence force Ng Chee Meng.

Mr Ng and Mr Ong will both be Acting Ministers for Education. At the same time, they will be Senior Minister of State in the Transport Ministry and Defence Ministry respectively.

Mr Chee has been appointed Minister of State for Communications and Information as well as for Health.

Grassroots activist John Ng, 47, who volunteers at Kampong Chai Chee ward in East Coast GRC, is interested in the plans in store from the Education Ministers.

"I look forward to seeing what kind of changes they will come out with. I think PM Lee has said we would change the PSLE scoring system. This is an area residents, from their feedback, are interested in, too," he said.

However, Mr Ng, a businessman, is attending the ceremony with "mixed feelings" as the MP overseeing Kampong Chai Chee, Mr Lee Yi Shyan, is stepping down as a senior minister of state. Mr Lee told reporters yesterday he had suffered a mini-stroke this year and wanted a change.

Tonight's ceremony comes nearly three weeks after the Sept 11 polls, which saw the People's Action Party win 69.9 per cent of the vote, a 9.8-percentage point rise from the 2011 General Election.

Several office-holders, however, will be sworn in at a later date.

Two new ministers of state, Dr Janil Puthucheary and Dr Koh Poh Koon, will take their oath later as they will take office on Jan 1.

The Parliamentary Secretaries - Associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim, Ms Low Yen Ling, Mr Baey Yam Keng and Mr Amrin - will be sworn in next Monday at the Istana.

Mr Baey said his past stint as chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Community and Youth will come in handy in his new post at the ministry.

"Now as part of the Government, my role is slightly different in that I have to shape policies and help to explain policies," he said.

























Find out who is in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s new line-up for the 13th Parliament and who is responsible for each...
Posted by The Straits Times on Monday, September 28, 2015

















Fresh, bold ideas to face complex challenges
The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2015

Singapore's new Cabinet was sworn in yesterday by President Tony Tan Keng Yam. This is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's speech at the swearing-in ceremony







We have had a pivotal General Election. It took place during SG50, marking the beginning of a new chapter for us.

As a people, we faced critical choices in this election. We had to decide whom we wanted to form the Government, which team to choose to secure our future and which direction Singapore should progress in. We had to ask ourselves: How do we keep improving our lives, taking Singapore higher, and building something worthwhile and lasting for our children?

My team and I are honoured and humbled that 70 per cent of voters chose the PAP (People's Action Party) to form the Government. You gave us a clear mandate to take Singapore forward, and we will do so.

Such a decisive result could only have happened with support from all groups of Singaporeans. All 89 seats were contested, and every adult citizen had to vote. The real winners in this election were Singaporeans. We have a strong, stable government, able to take Singapore confidently into the future. Singaporeans showed that we knew what was at stake. At a critical moment, we united to decide our future. We pledged ourselves to forge a new way forward as one people, one nation, one Singapore.

The election result sent an important signal to the world: that we Singaporeans are determined to keep Singapore special. Through the decades, our political stability and our quality workforce have attracted many MNCs to invest here. In recent times, MNCs have watched our politics more closely, to see which way it is heading. After the election, EDB told me that an MNC that has been here for many years had just decided to increase its stake in Singapore and make another billion-dollar investment here, creating many more good jobs for Singaporeans. I have no doubt that the election result boosted this investor's confidence that they were making the right decision, and that they could be confident Singaporeans would keep our fundamentals strong. I am sure that our neighbours noticed too, as have others.

ASSEMBLING THE BEST TEAM FOR SINGAPORE

Your clear mandate has enabled me to form a strong Cabinet. My new team comprises both experienced ministers, who will provide steady hands in a challenging environment, and younger ministers, who will bring new perspectives and ideas. They will have to master the issues quickly and ready themselves to lead Singapore.

My first objective in forming this Cabinet is, as always, to provide the most effective government for Singapore. We are entering a new phase of our nationhood. We face more complex challenges and new issues that cut across multiple domains. Therefore, I have appointed coordinating ministers to oversee work in three major areas.

The first area is national security, which remains a vital precondition of our success. The SAF and Home Team have kept us safe, but new dangers and threats are emerging around us. ISIS and jihadist terrorists are a serious problem for South-east Asia and Singapore because they threaten our physical safety and our racial harmony. Tensions in the South China Sea are unsettling our region. Political problems or racial tensions in neighbouring countries can complicate bilateral relations, or spill over to affect our society. Therefore, I have kept DPM Teo Chee Hean in charge of national security.

Another area is economic and social policies, which form a major part of our agenda. With an ageing population and uncertain global conditions, growth will be harder to come by. Yet our economy must grow to create opportunities for Singaporeans and improve our lives. At the same time, we must use the fruits of our growth wisely, both to invest in our future and to strengthen our social safety nets. Every citizen should benefit from Singapore's success, and those needing an extra helping hand should be looked after. DPM Tharman (Shanmugaratnam) will oversee this critical area.

The final major area is infrastructure. Good infrastructure provides the physical basis for our quality of life and our economic competitiveness. Compared to most other countries, we have done well. Singaporeans live in good homes, enjoy a well-planned, green environment, and travel in an efficient public transport system. But we have ambitious plans to build on what we already have over the next 20-30 years to create a new city, and an outstanding living environment for all of us. We also know where we need to do more work to improve standards and to remedy shortcomings. Khaw Boon Wan will be responsible for making Singapore a beautiful and endearing home for all of us.

These complex challenges require fresh and bold ideas, careful balancing of different goals, and close coordination across multiple agencies. This is what my new Cabinet, with a mix of experienced and new ministers, is designed to do. Many countries and cities, even in the developed world, have found similar challenges too hard to resolve. But here in Singapore, we can get things done and we will make it happen. We have a government that enjoys strong support. We have a competent public service. More importantly, we have a sense of national purpose. We can work together, think long-term, and focus the efforts of the whole government, indeed of the whole nation, to take Singapore forward. This is what makes us unique and will continue to keep us special.

LEADERSHIP RENEWAL

My other major goal in forming this Cabinet is to prepare the next team to take over from me and my senior colleagues. My responsibility, as it was with ESM Goh Chok Tong and Mr Lee Kuan Yew, is not just to govern Singapore well today, but also to prepare the next team to take over from us. This will secure Singapore's future beyond this generation, and take the country another step towards SG100.

Leadership renewal was one of my major themes before and during the election campaign. I am grateful that with your support, I can reinforce my team and pursue renewal vigorously.

The clock is ticking; we have no time to lose. Therefore, I have made a decisive move now. In this new Cabinet, nearly all the ministries have new ministers, ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries.

I have reinforced my team with backbenchers and newly-elected MPs, and entrusted major responsibilities to younger ministers. They have to be tested, learn the ropes, prove themselves, and shake down as a team. Increasingly they will carry the government's programme - initiating, explaining and executing policies, and persuading people to support these policies, which will increasingly be their policies.

The older ministers are staying on in Cabinet. They will provide my team with depth and breadth to think more deeply about issues and to plan more systematically for the future. They will also help me to mentor and guide the younger ones. My overriding goal is to have a new team ready to take over soon after the next elections, to work with you, for you, for Singapore.

THE NEXT CHAPTER

We are planning ahead because Singaporeans expect their leaders to do so. You have entrusted Singapore to me and my team, not just because of what we have done, but also because you are confident of what we will do. You trust that we will act on our words and live up to our promises, and we will.

I ask you to have that same belief in our country. Singapore is special not just because of what we have achieved today, but also because of what we can look forward to tomorrow. Singaporeans are not defined by the accolades we receive, but by our constant striving to always do better, whatever the circumstances.

In this SG50 year, we discovered what it means to be Singaporean. When our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed away in March, we grieved together. During the week of national mourning, we came together as one people, to pay tribute to Mr Lee and to reaffirm what our pioneers stood for. On Aug 9, we celebrated 50 years of independence and remembered how a rugged people overcame adversity together. At the National Day Parade, we sang Majulah Singapura, recited the Pledge and sang Home in one voice, committing ourselves anew to the nation. This year, we showed what Singapore can do and what promise our nation holds.

SG50 is not just about looking back but also looking forward. The last major SG50 event will be "The Future of Us" exhibition, which will open in December at Gardens by the Bay. The exhibition will showcase our journey from Third World to First, but more importantly, look forward to the many possibilities we have beyond SG50.

The themes of the exhibition include:

• The Future of Lifelong Learning - How Singaporeans can follow multiple paths to chase our rainbows, while also pursuing art, culture and sports;

• The Future of Greening Singapore - How our urban environment can be made more liveable and can better accommodate different rhythms of life in our lush City in a Garden;

• The Future of Caring - How we can come together as one Singapore family, whatever our social background or age, regardless of race, language or religion, to volunteer and to care for and support one another; and

• The Future of Smart Living and Working - How technology can transform the way we live and work, and free us to develop the human spirit.

I hope the exhibition will launch us into the next chapter of our Singapore Story. We - the Government and the people - have to write this chapter together. We will debate and argue over what this chapter should contain, how the story should develop. We will do that online and offline, in civil society and in Parliament. That's normal, and healthy. But at the end we are all co-authors of the chapter. We all have to work together, and we all want the story to have a happy outcome.

In the last term, we held the "Our Singapore Conversation". Fifty-thousand Singaporeans from all walks of life shared their hopes and dreams for themselves and for Singapore. The exercise helped us understand what we share in common and brought us closer together.

Now we will take this one step further, to explore how we will build our future together - how we will learn, work as one people, and celebrate life together. We will organise focussed discussions around the themes of "The Future of Us" exhibition.

I invite all Singaporeans to participate actively in these programmes. We welcome all views and will engage widely because every voice counts. I also urge Singaporeans to go beyond making suggestions or discussing ideas or critiquing policies. Commit to what you believe in, roll up your sleeves, get involved, and come together to make things happen.

One important area needing review is the economy. We must create opportunities even in a weaker global economy, and move faster towards higher skills, innovation and productivity. These are urgent tasks, both because global economic conditions and also domestic demographic trends will pose us severe challenges. We have to create more good jobs and pathways for our workers. We have to help enterprises, especially SMEs, adapt to a lean workforce, and build links with the region and the world. Minister Heng Swee Keat will chair a committee on "The Future Economy" to study this.

The Singapore Story belongs to all of us. If we have faith that Singapore will endure and thrive, and put our heart and soul into building Singapore, then we will prevail, and secure our place in history. As Mr Lee Kuan Yew once said: "We intend to see that (Singapore) will be here a thousand years from now. And that is your duty and mine."

CONCLUSION

We can achieve so much when we work together.

Two weeks ago, I attended an SG50 musical. It was called Our Lives, Our Story. The show was a grassroots effort, put together by residents from Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang West. They were all volunteers who invested energies and time to celebrate Singapore in song and dance. The musical traced Singapore's journey from independence, decade by decade, and explored our way forward to SG100.

This amateur production embodied the essence of what makes Singapore special. People of all ages and races shared wholeheartedly in a national celebration and gave something of themselves. We found a wide range of talents from among ourselves - the producer, the creative director, the volunteers and children who sang and danced, the backstage crew, the props and costume designers. They came together to rehearse and present an original musical in the beautiful theatre at ITE College Central to a full house.

During the performance, each one played their part, and everything fell into place. The audience too participated actively, clapping, cheering and singing along. It was a joy experiencing this moving rendition of our nation's story, and being a part of it, part of the story and part of the performance. And this could only have happened in Singapore.

That is what Singapore is and will always be about: each of us giving of our best, united by our shared ideals, our faith in this nation and our belief that here we can build something special together.

We are not done building Singapore, and we will never be done. In this general election, Singaporeans have reposed their trust in me and my team. My team and I take this trust and our responsibility seriously, and will continue to earn, to honour and to grow this trust. Together, as one united people, regardless of race, language and religion, we will achieve happiness, prosperity, and progress for our nation.




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