PM to give assurance on retirement funds at Rally speech

Giving Singaporeans assurance that they have enough to retire on will be one of the main themes of the National Day Rally speech later this month, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Sharing details of the speech on Aug 17, he said it will also focus on how the Government plans to create more opportunities for Singaporeans to pursue their dreams, improve the living environment in Singapore, and build a "better and brighter future".

"You don't have to worry about very difficult things in life, such as medical care," Mr Lee said last night at a National Day dinner in his Teck Ghee ward in Ang Mo Kio GRC. "But you can have the assurance in order to reach for the stars, to work to improve your lives."

Retirement adequacy has been the focus of late with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme coming under much debate, and the new MediShield Life being introduced. Earlier this year when Parliament was re-opened after a break, PM Lee had said that he hoped to share details on changes to CPF and CPF Life in his National Day Rally speech.

Last night, he spoke in Malay, Mandarin and English at the dinner with a boisterous crowd of 2,500 Teck Ghee residents which included 500 from the pioneer generation.

Last Friday, Mr Lee gave out the first 100 of 450,000 pioneer generation cards, which are expected to reach all pioneers by the end of the month.

Referring to this, he said: "It is our gesture to you, and thank you very much for all your contributions to Singapore."

Pioneers have taught Singaporeans the importance of looking out for one another, he said, and in this same spirit within his ward "we do all we can to take care of one another".

He cited the Teck Ghee Active Ageing Club, which has over 4,000 members, and efforts by young people to help the elderly and underprivileged.

Mr Lee also said eight blocks of flats in Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 have been selected for the Home Improvement Programme, an upgrading scheme for older flats. This will benefit close to 1,200 homes.

In Malay, Mr Lee said that he was heartened to see Muslims and non-Muslims coming together to support government efforts and pray for peace in areas like the Middle East. The support for fund-raising and community activities for victims of the crisis in Gaza is also heartening, he said, referring to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

"This shows we are concerned with the situation of those who are less fortunate... regardless of race, religion or beliefs. This is the spirit we want to foster in our citizens," he said.

In the morning, Mr Lee also attended a National Day observance ceremony with over 3,500 residents and students at Yio Chu Kang stadium.