Parliament: 4G leaders will listen to people's views, launch discussion series: Heng Swee Keat

The fourth generation leadership will listen to Singaporeans "with humility and respect", and launch a series of discussions with different groups of Singaporeans to seek their views, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on May 18.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat pledged to reach out to Singaporeans at different stages of life.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat pledged to reach out to Singaporeans at different stages of life.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The fourth generation leadership will listen to Singaporeans "with humility and respect", and launch a series of discussions with different groups of Singaporeans to seek their views.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced this on Friday (May 18), wrapping up the debate on the President's Address with a call to partnership between Singaporeans and their leaders.

He pledged to reach out to Singaporeans at different stages of life - young Singaporeans, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Pioneers.

The 4G leadership will also engage different segments of society, such as workers, volunteer groups, and hobby groups, covering people of different occupations and people who have different interests and passions.

The aim is to give all Singaporeans a role to turn good ideas into actions, he said.

"We will partner Singaporeans each step of the way in our journey of building our future Singapore," he added.

"We will consider all views with an open mind, and adjust our course accordingly. We will communicate the thinking behind our decisions clearly. We will bring Singaporeans together and give everyone a role to turn good ideas into concrete action."

 
 

He did not say when the discussion series will start, but said further details will be provided after the Cabinet has taken stock of the five-day long debate in the coming weeks.

Mr Heng was the last 4G minister to speak at the sitting, which started on Monday. He sought to elaborate how the younger ministers will bring Singapore forward by working more closely with the people.

Pointing to President Halimah Yacob's call to foster a deeper people-government partnership, Mr Heng said any partnership must be sincere and grounded in trust, with all stakeholders playing meaningful and complementary roles.

"Partnership and trust work together, nourish each other. The more we partner one another, the better we understand one another, the more the trust grows," he added.

Each generation of Singapore's leaders has worked to build this trust at critical junctures, and the fourth generation political leaders are similarly committed to doing so, he pledged, saying this does not come naturally.

Equally important is to bring out the best in every Singaporean, he said, describing this as "the central question that should occupy each generation of leaders".

"Because Singaporeans are at the heart of everything this Government does. This stays constant, whichever the generation of leadership - 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G or 10G," he added.

Working with people and harnessing the diverse strengths of society will become even more important, as the challenges Singapore faces become more complex, said Mr Heng, adding that the Government will not have all the solutions.

It is thus crucial to go beyond political leadership, to develop and embrace leadership in every part of society, from the unions and trade associations, to non-government organisations and voluntary welfare organisations, the minister added.

"We must be united by a sense of common purpose and galvanise whole-of-nation efforts to take Singapore forward," he said.

Emphasising the need to uphold values that have served Singapore well, he also urged people to be open to change, "not only to the change that comes to us, but go out and actively engage with it, seek our place amidst the change".

The minister also expressed hope that "we also treat the growing diversity of perspectives, causes, and success pathways as our endowment to treasure and nurture", and cautioned against misinformation which can divide.

During his speech, Mr Heng also assured the House that the Government has heard MPs' views about the immediate issues of concern to people, such as jobs, cost of living, and inequality, and would address them through the schemes and initiatives already announced in this year's Budget.

"These are important. I am glad MPs are listening to and reflecting the feelings of their residents," he said. "We hear you, we are taking action to address our people's needs and concerns, including cost of living."