Government will help Singaporeans play more active role in shaping nation's future: ministers

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing (left) and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing (left) and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN, KUA CHEE SIONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - As Singaporeans celebrate their nation's 51st birthday on Tuesday (Aug 9), two core members of the country's next-generation leadership have called on citizens to take a more active role in making this island a better home.

Making this call in a media interview on Monday (Aug 8) morning, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing said people will take more ownership in Singapore and how it fares if they feel they have a part to play in charting its future path.

"Nobody feels a sense of ownership or attachment to a country just by taking things and receiving things that are given to them. But everybody feels that sense of ownership when everybody participates in creating that country of ours," he said.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said a benefit of greater participation from people is that they will be more aware of the deeper issues and trade-offs underlying national policies.

They were speaking to reporters as a report was launched on Monday on the SGFuture dialogue series that took place between November last year and last month. The two ministers are co-chairs of the SGFuture engagement sessions.

About 8,300 people took part in 121 SGFuture engagement sessions to exchange views and ideas on shaping Singapore's future. Over 60 project ideas mooted during the sessions have been put into action, with some 1,300 participants volunteering in these projects.

One such idea is SG Cares, a national volunteer movement to help three groups of people: children from disadvantaged families, the elderly, and the disabled.

Three ministries - the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Health - will help channel volunteers to where they are needed and coordinate projects under the movement.

SG Cares will be launched by the end of the year and more details will be given then, Ms Fu said.

She also said that the Government will help volunteers have a more meaningful experience and be more than "a casual pair of hands". It will reach out to voluntary welfare organisations and help them redesign their volunteer engagement so that those who step forward to help can be better deployed.

Mr Chan said that on the Government's part, public sector agencies must consciously reach out to segments of society that do not usually participate in government activities. The People's Association and NTUC have started doing so, he added.