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More social policy announcements when Parliament reopens in May: PM Lee

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held a dialogue at London's Chatham House, speaking on the topic "Singapore's Perspectives on Asia and Europe" on Friday, March 28, 2014. In the wake of the recently-announced Pioneer Generation Package, Pri
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held a dialogue at London's Chatham House, speaking on the topic "Singapore's Perspectives on Asia and Europe" on Friday, March 28, 2014. In the wake of the recently-announced Pioneer Generation Package, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has pledged that "a few more pieces" of social policy will be rolled out when Parliament reopens in May. -- ST FILE PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

In the wake of the recently-announced Pioneer Generation Package, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has pledged that "a few more pieces" of social policy will be rolled out when Parliament reopens in May.

Parliament will be prorogued after its April 14 sitting and reconvene a month later, when the President's speech will set out the Government's programme for the rest of its term, Mr Lee told reporters last Saturday at the end of his week-long European visit.

"But the broad scope of it, I've already sketched out at last year's (National Day) Rally, which is our rebalancing towards stronger social safety nets, towards making sure the paths upwards are open towards helping everyone to level up and improve their quality of life as well as standard of living in Singapore," he added.

The Government has started on this through a new national health insurance scheme MediShield Life that will cover citizens for life once it is rolled out next year; and a package of health subsidies for the pioneer generation of old folk who are 65 or older this year, and became citizens before 1987.

Mr Lee said: "I think these are two major components, and there will be a few more pieces to come."

He described the policy reforms as having to achieve a "dynamic balance" between free market economics and social security.

Shifts would have to be done "step by step, in order to strengthen the social safety nets while doing our best to maintain that sense of initiative and personal responsibility and family responsibility".

Mr Lee spent last week in Europe, as part of the government's continuing effort to create more economic and political space for Singapore.

He started in the Netherlands for the third Nuclear Security Summit before a stop in Luxembourg and then a packed three-day visit in London.

He said he was more active on Facebook on this trip, to help followers understand the objectives of his visits. "In Singapore, we are usually caught up with domestic issues, in some sense, I think we somewhat neglect to notice external trends and global developments."

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