SINGAPORE – The nationwide conversation led by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, which focuses on shaping Singapore’s future and social compact, is set to move to the next phase.
Meanwhile, the Government will be updating its policies based on the feedback and ideas given in the Forward Singapore exercise. These plans will be shared in the upcoming Budget next Tuesday, said Mr Wong.
So far, the dialogues have drawn more than 14,000 Singaporeans across more than 140 sessions held in neighbourhoods and schools, and also online, he added in an update posted on TikTok on Friday morning.
“In the next phase of the exercise, we will go deeper into specific issues and co-create solutions with all of you,” he said.
The update comes about midway through the Forward Singapore exercise, which was launched by Mr Wong in June 2022, shortly after he took on the role of deputy prime minister.
He had called on Singaporeans to offer ideas to shape the future of Singapore and refresh the social compact. The exercise will conclude in the second half of 2023 with the Forward Singapore report.
The year-long exercise is led by Mr Wong and has six pillars headed by his fellow fourth-generation leaders, in areas such as jobs, housing and health.
The Forward Singapore exercise website was updated on Friday with details on the findings from the engagements.
These include concerns over job and training opportunities and reskilling, as well as feedback that current definitions of merit and success are too narrow and should be broadened.
Some participants said there are disparities in rewards and recognition across the job market, disadvantaging lower-wage workers and those who choose less conventional career paths.
Mr Yuvan Mohan, 34, a youth leader with self-help group Sinda, told The Straits Times that there is a greater appetite among young people to discuss more sensitive topics such as race and religion.
He took part in a Forward Singapore dialogue last November.
More effort can be made in providing toolkits, training and exposure to such conversations so that youth can engage in these topics in a meaningful way, he said.
“I hope for a Singapore where young people can share perspectives, embrace disagreements and forge consensus in a confident and compassionate manner,” he added.
There were also many who wished for more family-friendly workplace practices and better sharing of parental responsibilities.
On the hot topic of housing, the findings said participants agreed that Singapore should continue to be a home-owning society and called for some groups of people looking to purchase their first home to be given more support and priority.