S'pore must plan for next 50 years and after, beyond immediate issues: PM Lee

President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee Hsien Loong, flanked by DPM Heng Swee Keat (left) and DPM Lawrence Wong during the National Day Observance Ceremony at the Istana on Aug 8, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The Republic has to look to the long term, beyond addressing immediate issues such as inflation and the cost of living, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day message on Monday (Aug 8).

He noted that Gardens by the Bay, where he was broadcasting his speech from, is commemorating its 10th anniversary this year.

But the landmark was decades in the making, and required long-term planning.

"Where I am standing used to be open sea," he said.

"About 50 years ago, we started to reclaim land here to create Marina South and a future downtown. And we decided that the new downtown should not just be office and residential buildings, but would have at its heart an iconic green public space. Thus was Gardens by the Bay conceived, designed and built," he added.

The Prime Minister noted that since it opened in 2012, the Gardens has become a landmark which Singaporeans enjoy and are proud of.

And soon, work will start at Bay East Garden, where the Founders' Memorial will be sited.

"This is how we do things in Singapore - always daring to dream, setting our sights on the next frontier, and searching for better solutions and fresh possibilities. We look and plan ahead not just for the next five or 10 years, but for the next 30 or 50 years and beyond," he said.

PM Lee noted that last year, the Urban Redevelopment Authority launched the Long-Term Plan Review, and consulted widely to look for ideas to reimagine the city and island for the next bound.

An ongoing exhibition at the URA Centre showcases concepts for major developments, as well as ideas for new communities and green spaces, he added.

These concepts represent Singaporeans' collective dreams and aspirations for what the country can become.

"They will transform the way we live, work and play, while strengthening our roots and heritage. There is a lot for Singaporeans to look forward to," he said.

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PM Lee added that long-term plans are not confined to physical infrastructure.

"We also need to sustain economic progress and social resilience - investing in our people to reach their full potential, taking care of our elderly and vulnerable, fostering a common identity and building a brighter future for our grandchildren and beyond," he said.

"Each generation should be able to aim higher and bolder, to build a better Singapore than the one they inherited."

PM Lee noted that Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and his fourth-generation team have launched the Forward Singapore exercise to refresh the social compact with citizens, and chart a way forward together.

He invited Singaporeans to take part and contribute their ideas, and help to shape the future Singapore.

"We must never stop imagining and building the Singapore we want, even as we strengthen our guard against what can go wrong," he said.

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