While the Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions around the world, Singaporeans have responded to it with unity, fortitude and resilience, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.
"Everyone has played a part, making sacrifices and adjustments as the situation evolves," he said at the Bedok National Day virtual observance ceremony, his first as the new MP for the ward in East Coast GRC since he moved to anchor it at last month's general election.
Mr Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance, held up healthcare and front-line workers for their dedication to duty.
He also highlighted efforts by the community, such as seniors learning how to go digital, business owners who have taken SafeEntry and safe distancing measures seriously, and residents who have been exercising personal responsibility such as wearing masks when going out.
"With our efforts together, we have managed to keep community cases to the single digit in the past weeks. But we must continue to stay vigilant and keep to the safe management measures, to avoid a new wave of infections," he said.
"The road ahead is going to be difficult," he added, saying the Government has committed close to $100 billion to fight the crisis, with jobs a top priority.
Mr Heng, speaking from Bedok Community Centre, was joined by his fellow MPs in the GRC: Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Maliki Osman, Minister of State in the PMO and for National Development Tan Kiat How, and backbenchers Cheryl Chan and Jessica Tan.
As part of the National Day celebrations, all five will embark on the East Coast Trail this Saturday, Mr Heng said. "East Coast is a very big and diverse area, all the way from Bedok Town Centre to Pulau Ubin, and even to Pedra Branca. So we are exploring many interesting sites and features in the East Coast," he added, inviting residents to join them on the East Coast Buzz Facebook page.
Former MPs Lim Swee Say and Lee Yi Shyan also made guest appearances at the session that was attended by residents from over 500 Bedok households via Zoom and streamed live on Facebook.
Mr Heng thanked East Coast GRC residents for their trust and support in the GE, when the People's Action Party team won with 53.39 per cent of the vote. "We are determined to serve you better and to deliver on the mandate that you have given us."
Meanwhile, Marine Parade GRC and Mountbatten and MacPherson SMCs held a combined virtual National Day event yesterday.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, who heads the Marine Parade GRC team, said Covid-19 has affected lives and taken away jobs, but Singapore can emerge stronger.
"The Government will do all it can to help you. The community will also do what it can to stand together with you... We need to do this together," he said. "That's what being Singapore is all about. It's not just a concept and a notion, but it's about relationships... between all the different entities that add up to and make up what we call home."
Last night, President Halimah Yacob also joined the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations' virtual 14th National Day Sing-along. Madam Halimah acknowledged the work of the nation's frontline workers during this pandemic.
"Thank you for your selfless contributions to keep all of us safe during this period. This is a testament to our resilience and SGUnited spirit," she said. "As we celebrate our 55th National Day, let us stand in solidarity with one another to overcome the challenges ahead."