The work of building Singapore is not done, and in reimagining the future, bold, creative planning is paramount, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.
Giving an example of this in-novative vision, PM Lee cited Kampung Admiralty, the site he chose to deliver his message for National Day this year.
The estate in Woodlands is Singapore's first retirement community, and is also where the Government has transformed the way it delivers education, healthcare and housing to improve lives, he said, adding that these are the three key concerns of Singaporeans when they fret about the cost of living.
"In Singapore, we ensure these key public services are both of high quality and affordable for all Singaporeans, rich or poor. This is how we have helped families to manage their cost of living and given an extra hand to those who need it. For more than five decades, this approach has worked well," he said.
"We are not done building Singapore yet. By planning boldly and creatively, we can reimagine Singapore, remake our heartlands and rejuvenate our communities."
The 11-storey Kampung Admiralty complex took in its first residents last August, and comprises public housing integrated with healthcare, wellness and eldercare facilities plus a childcare centre.
PM Lee described it as a "high-rise kampung where residents are out and about, socialising with family, friends and neighbours, and yet never too far from home".
It is where education, healthcare and housing policies come together for the residents in a "tangible and holistic way", he said, adding that it is a model for future public housing.
Similarly, across Singapore, childcare centres have been opened to ensure all children can have a good start in life, and community healthcare facilities are in the works to bring quality care to people where they live, he added.
"These services will always be affordable," he said.
As for existing public housing estates, the Housing Board will continue to maintain and upgrade them, he said.
Alluding to the hotly discussed issue of the fate of HDB flats when their 99-year leases run out, he added: "Though the leases still have many years to run, we should think ahead about how we can keep older estates in good living condition, and also start to redevelop them, in order to build new homes and towns for future generations."
Unlike in previous National Day messages, PM Lee did not mention the economy's forecast growth figures for the year. But he noted that the economy has continued to grow steadily, around 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent in recent years.
He cautioned, though, that worsening trade tensions between major economies could have repercussions for Singapore, and may even affect international security.
Though tensions in the Korean peninsula had eased after Singapore successfully hosted the summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un two months ago, PM Lee said, there are many more challenges to overcome before denuclearisation and peace can be achieved.
Closer to home, PM Lee said Singapore will "strive for good relations with Malaysia, based on mutual benefit and respect" and "continue to work with Indonesia to further our wide-ranging cooperation".
Wrapping up, he said that building Singapore for the next 50 years will be a massive undertaking that will last more than a generation.
"To sustain this project, we will need a strong economy and sound government finances. Most importantly, we need social cohesion, political stability and good government for many years... to carry out and realise our vision."