SINGAPORE - Singaporeans have sent a clear signal that they want to stay united in the face of regional and global uncertainties, and to work with the Government for a better future, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said on Thursday (Oct 1) of the strong mandate received by the Government.
Dr Tan noted that while an election can potentially be divisive, it can also bring a country together, and that he was therefore happy about the strong signal from Singaporeans.
But he offered the new Cabinet a word of advice: “Singaporeans have chosen to place their trust in you because they believed you were the most worthy of that trust. The trust of the people is a precious thing. It does not come easy. You must continue to strive to deserve that trust,” he said at he swearing-in of the new Cabinet at the Istana.
That signal came in a year in which Singaporeans came together and expressed the Singapore spirit in many ways, he said.
This is the year in which Singapore celebrated its 50th year as an independent nation and paid tribute to its pioneers.
“Their resilience, resourcefulness and sense of responsibility laid the groundwork for our success. They believed in a multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-cultural Singapore. They believed that by working together as one people, they could build a better life for themselves and their children. We enjoy the nation that was founded on these beliefs,” he said.
“Our sense of togetherness has never been stronger,” he said.
The passing of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in March brought the nation together, he said.
Quoting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally Speech, Dr Tan said:
“Now we do not have to struggle to find words to define the Singapore spirit or to say what being Singaporean is. Now we know that we are Singaporean.”
He also mentioned the tremendous performance of Singapore athletes during the SEA Games as one in which the Singapore spirit showed itself.
President Tan said he was pleased that in the last term of Government, Singapore continued to make good progress.
“Despite the global economic uncertainty and the debt crisis in Europe, the Singapore economy did well, growing by 11 per cent in real terms between 2011 and 2014. With economic restructuring, we created many new and diverse jobs, and real wages grew for most Singaporeans,” he said.