SINGAPORE - The Government alone cannot make Singapore prosper, as its people and community partners have a role to play in helping the country overcome its challenges.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated this on Saturday (Oct 6) at the opening of the redeveloped 600-bed Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH) nursing home in Serangoon.
"As the Government does its part, we will also need community partners like KWSH, and more importantly, support from the people who will work hard and overcome challenges, like the Pioneer and Merdeka generations. Only then can Singapore prosper," said Mr Lee.
KWSH nursing home went through a $96 million redevelopment that it undertook with the Ministry of Health. Works started in 2014.
With the facelift, it is now the largest single-site nursing home in Singapore.
The new 12-storey facility has thematic day activity spaces and a refurbished traditional Chinese medicine centre. It also has a heritage gallery and a pavilion garden.
Its patients can now enjoy wards that are better ventilated.
The nursing home offers inpatient and outpatient services, day rehabilitation, day care, centre-based nursing services and a training centre.
The opening of the nursing home coincided with its 108th anniversary on Saturday.
In his speech, Mr Lee commended KWSH's efforts and thanked its volunteers, staff and donors. He noted the hospital's long history of helping the needy, calling it one of Singapore's oldest charitable healthcare institutions that has continued to help those in need throughout the country's development.
At the event, Mr Lee planted a pink mempat tree, which symbolises the Chinese proverb of future generations reaping what the previous generation sows.
His father, the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, planted a flame of the forest tree during his first visit to the hospital 55 years ago.
KWSH aims to have a new 128-bed long-term care facility by 2020. By then, the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics will open the new Kallang Polyclinic, which will be connected to the nursing home.
The hospital is also set to establish its presence in six locations by 2021, specifically areas within the central region of Singapore, such as Kallang, Jalan Besar, MacPherson, Whampoa and Potong Pasir.
This will be done through the construction of more nursing homes and community care centres in the coming years.
PAYING TRIBUTE TO PIONEER, MERDEKA GENERATIONS
In his speech, Mr Lee paid tribute to the late Dr Leong Heng Keng, who was KWSH's honorary chairman and board director, and other Pioneer Generation Singaporeans by highlighting the hard work and sacrifices they made for others.
"Dr Leong and the Pioneer Generation did not just take care of their own interests, but they worked together and supported each other. Business leaders contributed to helping the needy, established hospitals, school and clan associations," said Mr Lee.
"Other pioneers gave of what they could to help others. The hard work and sacrifices made by the Pioneer Generation helped to build Singapore out of nothing, and made it possible for Singapore to succeed."
The launch of the Pioneer Generation Package four years ago was to thank this group of Singaporeans, he added.
Similarly, Mr Lee said the generation that came after the pioneers, those born in the 1950s, also went through tough times.
As Singapore struggled for independence and faced challenges such as workers' and racial riots and high unemployment, this Merdeka Generation shared a common goal to make newly independent Singapore flourish, he said.
This motivated the generation to forge ahead and work together to give Singapore the progress it has enjoyed.
The Merdeka Generation Package, which Mr Lee announced at this year's National Day Rally, recognises their contributions and is meant to help with their healthcare concerns in their later years.
Said Mr Lee: "The Pioneer and Merdeka generations did their part, they strived for a better future for the next generation. The Government's goal will always be to improve the lives of the people."