WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO KEEP SINGAPORE SPECIAL

Next team must be 'ready in the wings'

PM Lee Hsien Loong delivered the National Day Rally at ITE College Central on Aug 23, 2015.
PM Lee Hsien Loong delivered the National Day Rally at ITE College Central on Aug 23, 2015.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

PM Lee credits achievements to cooperation between Govt and people, calls on S'poreans to back his team

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday held up what was effectively a report card on what the Government had promised, and delivered, over the past 10 years.

The targets were met and he credited the achievement to the cooperation between the Government and the people, saying: "We did this together. We had a vision, we believed in it, and together, we realised our dreams."

He also called on Singaporeans to continue to back him and his team, and urged them to help determine the next generation of ministers who will lead Singapore into its next 50 years.

ANOTHER CHAPTER

In the last 10 years, we have written another chapter of the Singapore story... We put brick on brick, we climbed step by step, we kept Singapore special, delivered results for Singaporeans.

PM LEE HSIEN LOONG, on what the Government has done

  • DELIVERED, AS PROMISED

  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Government has delivered on its promises in the last 10 years, including:

    BUILDING MORE BEAUTIFUL HOMES PEOPLE CAN AFFORD

    • Transforming Punggol 21 into the model town for 21st-century living with a man-made waterway and new housing estates.

    STRENGTHENING SOCIAL SAFETY NETS

    • Introducing Workfare income supplement for low-income workers, Silver Support for the elderly poor, and ComCare for needy Singaporeans.

    • Building new hospitals such as the Ng Teng Fong Hospital that opened in June.

    • Making healthcare more accessible through the Community Health Assist Scheme that subsidises visits to the doctor, and the upcoming MediShield Life universal health insurance.

    CREATING MORE PATHWAYS FOR CHILDREN TO SUCCEED

    • Opening Northlight and Assumption Pathway specialised schools that take in those who failed the Primary School Leaving Examination.

    • Starting the School of The Arts, Singapore Sports School and School of Science and Technology to cater to varied talents.

    • Building new universities such as the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Institute of Technology, and UniSIM.

    TRANSFORMING THE CITY

    • Building park connectors and waterways in the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters programmes by the Public Utilities Board.

    • Upgrading Changi Airport with a mixed-use Jewel complex as well as Terminals 4 and 5.

    • Transforming Marina Bay with developments such as Gardens by the Bay.

Speaking at his 12th National Day Rally, PM Lee harked back to the promises made at previous National Day Rallies and cited examples to show that the Government made good on them.

Singapore has built more beautiful, affordable homes, strengthened social safety nets, created more pathways for children to achieve success, and transformed the city and Marina Bay, he said.

He listed examples such as the development of Punggol in the Punggol 21 project, the introduction of schemes such as universal health insurance MediShield Life and Workfare Income Supplement, the building of more universities and specialised schools, and the upcoming upgrade of Changi Airport.

"In the last 10 years, we have written another chapter of the Singapore story," he added.

"We put brick on brick, we climbed step by step, we kept Singapore special, delivered results for Singaporeans."

PM Lee said this was achieved by building on what the country inherited from its earlier leaders.

He noted how Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March, worked with his team of pioneer generation leaders to plan beyond their terms and even beyond their lifetimes.

They nurtured the next generation of leaders and Singaporeans, and also taught their successors to do the same, said PM Lee.

He said his team had likewise been planning for leadership succession over the past 10 years, adding: "My team and I take very seriously our responsibility to make sure that Singapore lasts beyond us."

While the current governing team has served Singaporeans "to the best of our ability", and Singaporeans have got to know the team well, PM Lee said its core members are already in their late 50s and 60s and will not be around forever.

This is why the next team must be "ready in the wings", he added.

He said the nucleus of Singapore's future Cabinet has already been drafted over previous elections.

The ministers making up this group have taken charge of important programmes such as the year-long Our Singapore Conversation consultation exercise and the SG50 celebrations, and have also served in different ministries, including difficult ones, he said.

He also said they have connected with Singaporeans of all ages, and have participated in major decisions that the Government has made.

But he urged Singaporeans to continue to support him and his team.

Last night he said that he would call an election "soon", to help complete the next-generation leadership team.

"We need to reinforce them, to round out the team, to give Singapore the best possible chance of succeeding into the future. And that's what I need to do in the next election," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'Next team must be 'ready in the wings''. Print Edition | Subscribe