PM Lee to deliver National Day Rally speech on Sunday

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering the 2016 National Day Message at Safra Punggol.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering the 2016 National Day Message at Safra Punggol.PHOTO: MCI

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will deliver the National Day Rally speech this Sunday at the Institute of Technical Education.

Mr Lee will commence the rally at 6.40pm in Malay. He will then speak in Mandarin, before beginning his English speech at 8pm, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement yesterday.

Traditionally, the National Day Rally is used to map out the nation's future directions, and also to announce policy changes.

In last year's wide-ranging speech, Mr Lee announced government initiatives geared towards making home ownership more affordable and helping young parents.

This year's rally will be the first after last September's General Election, which the People's Action Party won after garnering 69.9 per cent of the vote.

MPs said that a key theme is likely to be the economy and the Government's plans to help Singaporeans amid the uncertain economic outlook.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Finance and Trade and Industry, said Mr Lee would likely talk about the fast-changing economic context so Singaporeans and businesses can "make the decisive moves needed... to seize new opportunities".

Given the growing frequency of terror attacks and near-misses close to home, such as the blasts that hit five provinces in Thailand last Friday, Mr Lee will likely also stress the importance of staying united as a nation, said other MPs.

"We've got a lot to celebrate (with national swimmer Joseph Schooling winning Olympic gold, our 51st National Day, but it also means that we have got to continue to be on our guard and, at the same time, use these things to build a very strong sense of unity and to stay united if something untoward does happen here," said Mr Christopher De Souza, who is the chairman of the GPC for Home Affairs and Law.

"So how we react to a threat if it hits our shores, how we stay united - this will be a major theme."

The rally will be broadcast on television and radio, and will also be streamed live on the Prime Minister's Office's YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/pmosingapore), Mr Lee's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/leehsienloong) and government feedback unit Reach's website (http://www.reach.gov.sg/ nationaldayrally2016).

For the first time, Reach will be organising live Facebook chats in different languages in the week after the rally, helmed by panellists such as Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng.

Singaporeans can also share their views on the rally with Reach through e-mail, fax, SMS, WhatsApp, mail, over the phone or through its social media accounts from Aug 21 to Sept 4.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2016, with the headline 'PM Lee to deliver National Day Rally speech on Sunday'. Print Edition | Subscribe