President Halimah: Let's mount united front to overcome challenges

President says individual and collective efforts are needed to surmount the difficulties ahead for firms, workers, families

President Halimah Yacob (seated in front row) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (seated on her right) with the Istana staff during the National Day observance ceremony hosted by the President's Office at the Istana yesterday. They were joined by nea
President Halimah Yacob (seated in front row) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (seated on her right) with the Istana staff during the National Day observance ceremony hosted by the President's Office at the Istana yesterday. They were joined by nearly 350 public officers, who attended the ceremony virtually.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The pandemic is far from over and staying united can help Singapore overcome the crisis, President Halimah Yacob said in a video message ahead of National Day.

"There will be difficulties ahead for companies, workers and families. We all need to look for ways to overcome the challenges individually and collectively," she said.

"It will not be easy, hence the reason why we need to stay together and mount a united front. I am confident that together, we can emerge as a stronger Singapore."

President Halimah added that Singapore's 55th birthday would have been a milestone and a cause for great celebration if not for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

"Although this year's National Day festivities have to be very different from the years before, I hope our spirits will not be dampened," she said.

Singapore's progress as a nation over the years has been a strong buffer against the upheaval Covid-19 has caused, she noted, adding that it has still taken "all our strength and resources to mount an emergency response to this global challenge".

Madam Halimah also thanked front-line workers for their relentless efforts in helping to stabilise the situation in Singapore, and said she was heartened by Singaporeans coming together and mobilising resources to help one another during this difficult period.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen led about 3,000 Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and Singapore Armed Forces personnel to recite the Pledge and sing the National Anthem yesterday morning during Mindef's National Day observance ceremony. It was held virtually via video conferencing.

In his National Day message to students delivered yesterday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong noted that students have responded with resilience and courage to the pandemic.

"This crisis, and every crisis before, has shown us that being Singaporean means uniting and supporting each other. We have overcome difficult times before," he said.

"I am confident that you will rise to this challenge to build a better home in Singapore. Together, and only together, can we be a stronger Singapore."

 
 
 
 

At a virtual National Day observance ceremony held for public officers based in The Treasury, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat thanked the officers for their work.

He highlighted the efforts of those at The Treasury, which included preparing four Budgets within 100 days, working tirelessly to mitigate the pandemic's impact on businesses and jobs, and creating jobs and traineeships for Singaporeans.

At the Ministry of National Development's virtual observance ceremony, Minister Desmond Lee cautioned that the worst of the pandemic may be yet to come.

"We will have to steel ourselves, reinvigorate and re-energise ourselves, and be ready to do battle on multiple fronts," he said.

While acknowledging that the fight against Covid-19 has been tiring and draining, he said "the way we respond to this incredible crisis may well determine the course of our lives, and the future of our children and our grandchildren".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2020, with the headline 'Halimah: Let's mount united front to overcome challenges'. Subscribe