Addenda to President’s Address

Plans for more dialogues, activities to engage youth

An ACJC student, dressed for the school’s Racial Harmony Day celebrations, asking a question at a dialogue on the media's role in covering religion held at the school in 2012.
An ACJC student, dressed for the school’s Racial Harmony Day celebrations, asking a question at a dialogue on the media's role in covering religion held at the school in 2012.PHOTO: ST FILE

Govt pledges to consult S'poreans on their ideas and partner them to forge better future

More dialogues and activities to engage the young are on the cards as the Government pledged yesterday to partner Singaporeans to forge a better future for everyone.

It vowed to ensure good governance to uphold the trust of citizens, spend within its means as the economy slows, and continue to give subsidies to those who need them most. It will also invest in lifelong education.

These plans of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and Ministry of Finance (MOF) were made public yesterday in their Addenda to the President's Address, which will be debated in Parliament next week.

Ms Grace Fu, who heads MCCY, said it will be "all hands on deck" in finding ways to be a more resilient society. Her ministry will deepen engagement efforts online and off- line, she added. These include the ongoing SGfuture dialogues at which Singaporeans discuss their hopes for the country and how they can bring them to fruition.

The MOF and Public Service Division also said they will consult Singaporeans on their ideas.

The future of Singapore lies in its youth and the MCCY said it will actively engage them on issues that matter to them and encourage them to contribute to the community, to inspire a culture of volunteerism and philanthropy.

More will also be done to strengthen national identity and pride.

MCCY will continue to preserve facets of Singapore's heritage, while investing in the arts and sports to boost citizens' pride in the achievements of local artists and athletes. To strengthen community ties, the Government will improve sports infrastructure to promote an active lifestyle for all.

It will also strengthen mutual understanding through the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles, formed after the 2001 arrests of Jemaah Islamiah terrorists here.

Meanwhile, the Government recognises the need for prudent spending amid economic uncertainties.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his ministry's Addendum that the Government needs to stress getting value for money as costs in transport infrastructure, healthcare and housing increase.

It needs to build revenues to meet the higher spending needs of an ageing population. "We must do so in a way that keeps the economy vibrant and the tax system progressive."

MOF will support businesses to restructure, innovate and internationalise, Mr Heng said, and it will review regulations to reduce taxes and costs for small companies.

As Ms Fu said: "Our future depends on what we make of it together... We have had a good start. We can make it even better together."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2016, with the headline 'Plans for more dialogues, activities to engage youth'. Print Edition | Subscribe