Spotlight on 4G leaders at next week's debate

(Clockwise from top left) Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Mini
(Clockwise from top left) Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat, and Mr Ng Chee Meng and Ms Indranee Rajah, who are both Ministers in the Prime Minister's Office. PHOTOS: MCI, AFP, MINISTRY OF LAW

Sitting will be watched closely for details of next-generation leaders' vision for Singapore

Singapore's fourth-generation political leaders will flesh out their plans for this term of Government when Parliament sits on Monday.

The House will debate the President's Address, which was delivered at the opening of Parliament last Monday, and the various ministries' addenda in a sitting that is scheduled for five days.

The debate will be closely watched for more details of the 4G leaders' vision for Singapore, and how they perform.

Besides Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, eight younger office-holders are slated to speak.

They are: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat, and Mr Ng Chee Meng and Ms Indranee Rajah, who are both Ministers in the Prime Minister's Office.

To kick-start the debate, Ms Cheryl Chan (Fengshan) will move a motion to thank President Halimah Yacob for her address.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Facebook post yesterday that MPs will then "proceed to debate the content of the speech and agree on a response".

The Government had identified five priorities for the second half of its term, which are largely similar to those it set out at the start of the term in January 2016.

They are: Securing a place in the world for Singapore, building a world-class city, developing a vibrant economy, forging a caring and inclusive society, and nurturing a distinct Singapore identity.

But this time, details of how these goals will be achieved will likely have a larger 4G imprint, MPs said.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) said the upcoming debate is more on the Government's "vision and mission", unlike the Budget debate, which deals with more immediate concerns.

He hopes it would give a good sense of the 4G leaders' value systems. And while the Government's priorities remain broadly the same, he said the younger ministers are likely to detail their own ideas of how they plan to take Singapore forward.

On his part, Mr Saktiandi plans to speak about how to maximise the potential of Singaporeans, regardless of their qualifications.

Inequality was also highlighted as an issue that the Government would tackle, and Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) said he would like the issue to be dealt with "as rigorously as we treat the racial harmony issue".

"We need to have a concerted effort, policy and willingness to tackle this issue," he said, adding that he would be speaking about the social divide and how to better get people living in private and public housing to mix, among other things.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline 'Spotlight on 4G leaders at next week's debate'. Print Edition | Subscribe