Panel being set up to chart future of economy

It will create opportunities for S'pore, says PM; discussions also on future challenges

The Cabinet (front row, from left): Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime M
The Cabinet (front row, from left): Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang. (Second row, from left): Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan. (Third row, from left): Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu. (Back row, from left): Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli and Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

A new committee will be set up to look at how Singapore can continue creating opportunities and help workers and businesses adapt amid a weaker global economy and a leaner workforce.

The committee on "The Future Economy" will be chaired by new Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said as he outlined the challenges facing his new Government at its swearing-in at the Istana last night.

The committee comes alongside a new exhibition titled "The Future of Us" that will open at Gardens by the Bay in December and explore what Singapore in the future could be like.

Exhibition themes will include the future of lifelong learning, a greener city, volunteerism and how technology can transform the way people live and work.

Focused discussions around these themes will also be held to explore ideas on how the Government and people can build Singapore's future together.

The exhibition is the last major SG50 event, said Mr Lee, who hoped it would "launch us into the next chapter of our Singapore Story".

He invited all Singaporeans to actively take part in these programmes, saying the Government welcomed all views and would engage widely as every voice counts.

"I also urge Singaporeans to go beyond making suggestions or discussing ideas or critiquing policies," he added. "Commit to what you believe in, roll up your sleeves, get involved, and come together to make things happen."

Mr Lee said the Government was planning ahead as Singaporeans expected their leaders to do so.

He also pledged to live up to the trust voters had placed in his team at the Sept 11 General Election, when about 70 per cent of voters chose the People's Action Party to form the Government.

He asked citizens to have the same belief in their country, saying: "Singapore is special not just because of what we have achieved today, but also because of what we can look forward to tomorrow."

"Singaporeans are not defined by the accolades we receive, but by our constant striving to always do better, whatever the circumstances," he added.

Speaking before Mr Lee, President Tony Tan Keng Yam noted that Singapore has continued to find strength in growing diversity, and the Government sought to engage citizens in shaping the future.

But much remains to be done, he said, noting that the world economy has hit a rough patch and at home, Singapore faces challenges of an ageing population and a shrinking workforce.

"If we fail to address these challenges robustly, our economy will falter, lose its vibrancy and we will find it harder to improve the lives of our people," Dr Tan added.

He presided over the ceremony to swear in what he called a "bold, strong and forward-looking" Cabinet with experience and new faces.

Thirty-one office bearers, starting with PM Lee, took their oaths, led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, during the one-hour ceremony at the Istana's State Room.

Mr Lee said the new Cabinet aims to provide the most effective government to tackle complex challenges, and prepare the next team to take over. "We are not done building Singapore, and we will never be done," he said. "The Singapore Story belongs to all of us. If we have faith that Singapore will endure and thrive, and put our heart and soul into building Singapore, then we will prevail, and secure our place in history."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2015, with the headline Panel being set up to chart future of Singapore economy. Subscribe