theonlinecitizen

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The Prime Minister’s National Day Message

Posted by theonlinecitizen on August 8, 2007


My fellow Singaporeans,

We celebrate National Day in a happy mood. It has been another good year for Singapore. Altogether now, we have had four good years of growth.

We have many things to cheer about:

a. Our athletes are winning medals

b. Our chefs are winning culinary contests

c. Our entrepreneurs are launching new businesses

d. Our students are excelling at all kinds of international events – robotic championships, choir festivals, debates, creative problem solving contests, and mathematics and science Olympiads

e. We are gearing up for new and exciting projects, like the Formula One Grand Prix and the Integrated Resorts

Economic growth in the first half of this year was 7.6%, higher than we had expected. For the whole year, MTI has raised its growth forecast to between 7 and 8%. The good news is that we have added 111,000 jobs in the first half – the highest number ever. Unemployment is very low, at 2.4%. Workers are enjoying good wage increases and higher bonuses because businesses are doing well.

Singapore is growing not just because of more investments or more workers. Our people are adapting and working smarter. We are organising ourselves more efficiently, and making better use of our resources. In short, we have increased our productivity. Our efforts to transform our economy are paying off. The global economy is continuing to change. If we keep on adapting and readapting to it, we can keep growing strongly for many more years.

Favourable Conditions Ahead

It has been ten years since the Asian financial crisis. Asia has progressed, and become more developed and dynamic. China and India are powering ahead, and Japan’s economy has revived. Southeast Asia is not without problems, but on the whole, it has regained its balance. High energy prices are benefiting energy-exporters like Malaysia and Indonesia, and the region is moving forward again. While the global financial markets have been choppy the last few days, the medium term fundamentals for Asia remain strong.

Singapore is at the heart of this rising Asia. We have many strengths to draw on:

a. A clean and corruption-free society;

b. Disciplined and well-educated workers;

c. A cohesive, multi-racial community;

d. A capable and vigilant SAF and Home Team.

Looking ahead, we are poised to take off. Many projects are already underway. In Marina South, we are building the integrated resort, the banking and financial centre, and soon the new botanic gardens. There is buzz and excitement in the air, as our city changes before our eyes day by day. Even the National Day Parade this year is different and exciting. For the first time, it will be held on water at Marina Bay. It will be on the largest floating stage in the world, with the new city skyline taking shape around us.

We are not just creating a new downtown, but building a first-class living environment for all Singaporeans. We are rejuvenating HDB estates where our people live, and linking the estates to parks and waterways. We are connecting the whole island with high-quality public transport, and every home with high-speed internet. All this will enhance the value of your homes, and draw our community closer together.

Within a decade, our city and our whole country will be completely transformed. The world is taking notice. It will be a new Singapore, but with our own unique identity, and the can-do and never-say-die spirit of the Lion City.

Widening Income Gap

Yet, as we build this nation together, we face one major challenge to our social harmony and national cohesion. Income gaps are widening – here, and all over the world. With globalisation, hundreds of millions of unskilled workers are joining the global economy. They are pushing down wages at the lower end. Rapidly changing technology is also making jobs more complex. People with skills and high ability are in growing demand, and being paid more.

We cannot stop or reverse this global trend. But we can do a lot to help Singaporeans cope with it. We want everybody to benefit from Singapore’s success.

Our basic approach is to grow the economic pie. When companies expand, there will be more and better jobs for everyone. We will have the resources to maximise opportunities for all. We can give every child many chances to do the best for himself in life. We can also help every household to own a home of their own – in fact, our HDB home ownership programme is the best form of social welfare for Singaporeans.

We are strengthening our social safety nets. Programmes like ComCare and Workfare help the lower-income families. More importantly, we are helping them and their children to break out of poverty, through education and training. So we are creating excellent learning environments in every neighbourhood school, and not just a few top schools. And we are helping low-wage workers to learn new skills, become more employable, and do better.

One reason our income gap is widening is our ageing population. Singaporeans are living longer than ever. We must help our elderly live comfortably by keeping medical care affordable, making our city barrier-free, and our public transport wheelchair friendly. Those with enough savings will feel secure about their future. But workers who retire too early may not have enough savings for their old age. I know many older Singaporeans worry about whether they can make ends meet. We are making changes to help you to work longer, earn more and build up your retirement savings. We will enhance the value of your HDB homes, which are a nest-egg for old age. We will improve the CPF scheme, so that you can enjoy a steady income and peace of mind in your golden years.

The Government cannot solve all these problems alone. Everyone must play a part. We each must take responsibility for ourselves, make the effort to do well, and provide for our families and our old age. At the same time, the more successful Singapo­reans must pitch in to help the weaker ones. The more you have gained from society, the greater your obligation to give back something to your fellow citizens. Let your giving come from the heart. Many Singaporeans have done so quietly. To grow as a nation, we need to be compassionate as well as competitive. As we spur one another on to perform and excel, we must also work together and care for those in need.

Confident about the Future

We will tackle these issues one by one, and deal with all the problems that are bound to come in this uncertain world. But we have every reason to be confident about our future. The global backdrop is favourable. The winds and tides are with us. Our spirit is high, and our ship is ready.

My fellow Singaporeans, let’s seize the moment to sail ahead, into the bright and exciting future that we can already see. Together, let’s transform Singapore, and make this a special home for every one of us.

I wish all Singaporeans a very Happy National Day. 

The video of the PM’s message can be found here.

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21 Responses to “The Prime Minister’s National Day Message”

  1. thiam said

    “Looking ahead, we are poised to take off. Many projects are already underway. In Marina South, we are building the integrated resort, the banking and financial centre, and soon the new botanic gardens. There is buzz and excitement in the air, as our city changes before our eyes day by day.”

    Hello can someone pls do me a favor and check and see whether the plug is properly connected to the socket? This is not what I want, it may be someone elses idea of what is good but it is not mine. I just want cheaper transport, more affordable milo etc and to have enough money to retire with a bit of pride and dignity. This is not too much to ask, instead of having to live my silver days in Malaysia while I have to travel every 3 months to see my grandchildren. Something is very wrong somewhere when the govt puts money over people and something is even wronger when they try to sell that as life without having to work non-stop. That’s all I want this National Day.

    pre65

  2. Absolutely spot on, Thiam. This is the 42nd national day for the leaders to continue to blow their own trumpet of their own pretentious success. They are perhaps celebrating their success in capturing the whole electorate by fair or foul means for the 42nd years.

    For the majority of citizens life is getting harder and they are not able to cope with rising costs created by our relentless leaders’ self-centred system of running the government.

    Yesterday there was yet another casuality of such a system of relentless system with one more citizen jumping onto the MRT track. There were countless citizens getting out of jobs because businesses could not survive the non-stop fee and tax increases to build government surpluses without any thought for the citizens.

    Majority are not getting better lives as of what they earn they had to pay 40%-60% to necessity like utility, service charge, transportation, education with nothing left for three meals or retirement.

    Yet our successful leaders are getting all their self-rewards of one kind or another without sparing a thought of such citizens.

    I pray that there will be an honest government one day perhaps next year or perhaps next election so that such hardship sufferred for long by the citizens will be recognized or relieved.

    Let us pray that we will celebrate next national day without such pretences and there will truly be more good years for the ordinary citizens instead of only for the ruling elites to blow their own hollow trumpet.

  3. MRT Suicides said

    Hello Robert,

    Maybe you can contribute here: http://forums.hardwarezone.com/forumdisplay.php?f=17

  4. I was invited by NTUC last month to post in its website. My reply was since government has been ignoring people’s feedbacks, what is the point of my posting more on their website. But I will take a look at the site you mentioned.

  5. [quote]Originally posted by hloc:
    [b]

    Well said ❗ ❗

    [/b][/quote]

    As bear wisely said, we do not even know what to be united for. Therefore we must put up a good plan in a simple manner to identify what they want and commit them to accept change with a practical alternative to existing top-down autocracy.

    This is the most difficult issue. If people keep talking about their doubts and their own points of views without any reasonable direction and process they will fail again. Even when we find very vocal and outspoken and able demogogues who could shout slogans, people may still have doubts whether they could implement their slogans.

    So New Practical Implementation Leaders must be found who could unite the people with not only visions but true and objective representation of their desires and needs for change in sequence of committed project management activities like: “Outline, Schemes, Details, Final and Process”.

    We need objectives and directions to be drawn up on a front-end agenda but we still need implementation processes to be put up and accepted for all to be committed to their implementation.

    A group of citizens must eventually be found to keep working on such objective-processing program till people can see real and concrete program being implemented then they could accept them as viable.

    Where there is a will there is a way. Only determined optimists are qualified to be involved in such change.

  6. Lai CF said

    “Looking ahead, we are poised to take off. Many projects are already underway. In Marina South, we are building the integrated resort, the banking and financial centre, and soon the new botanic gardens. There is buzz and excitement in the air, as our city changes before our eyes day by day.”

    ————————————————————————

    “Poised to take-off..”? in our current booming construction industry?

    For Korean, Japanese and Mainland Chinese contractors?

    For Mainland CHinese, Indian, Blangadeshi, Flippino, Myanmarese, Vietnamese, Nepalese, etc workers?

  7. Seeking Salvation said

    42 years there may be more millionaires created
    However plse come to a realisation that there are also many
    more who are not who are just putting and trudging on with a
    honest day work. More sacrifices. Is there a quality of life
    do you still have to be in debt when your ten year old car is due
    for scrapping. Its worse that owing money to the tai yu long – loanshark or mafia. ha ha ha swiss standard of living for who

  8. As a potential overseas resident in Singapore, it gives me great comfort to know that there is such strength and dedication behind the government responsible for all the fantastic lifestyle now made possible in Singapore.
    Having met my girlfriend at University, who is Singaporean, we have talked about the potential of living in Singapore and I for one am glad to hear your sincere words.

    My girlfriend took National day very seriously and with much pride and it’s this display of patriotism, that reflects the greatness that is Singapore and it’s embracing of world wide culture.

    What a great monumental achievement to be celebrating 42 years of Singapore.

    Much success and good fortune for Singapore yourself and all it’s great residents,
    Sean A. Curtin

  9. Is the above post by Sean Curtin the last post allowed on this topic?

    I do not seem to be able to post a reply to this post.

  10. Ok, it is not closed except that my earlier post did not go through.

  11. In PM Lee’s National Day Message,he has not addressed the problems faced by hundreds of thousand of citizens who are so poor that they cannot have three meals per day and the middle class who are squeezed by rising costs unable to keep up with mortgage payments etc.

    People should start a People’s Self-Help Fund (PSF) to help themselves instead.

    The PSF is needed because it provides an alternative solution to help the poor and middle class (the new poor) who are unable to survive the economic game with a government obsessed with building up the country for the rich and foreigners.

    Many who cannot retire or get three meals a day will have help from such fund which in return will be served and supported by such people who receive help to pay back in whatever way they can once they are put back on their feet.

    In this way PSF will go on and generate growth as a way to work for the majority of citizens in whatever way and means they can.

  12. […] are so many things to pick at his speech, I don’t know where to […]

  13. lesile said

    Even if want start with People’s Self-Help Fund (PSF), gov will find way to get money from it in the form of admin cost. Any money fund will need to register with gov. Case in SDU, gov disband SDU, and nowswhoever want to do dating service will need to pay money to gov for admin cost.

    Such is our money-loving gov. PayAndPay mentality is very entrenched in gov. No wonder gov does want to let us know how much they profit from us. Who will ? If a company make tons of money, they will not let employees know how much the executive profit from it. It is just natural for even an extraordinary gov leading an extraordinary country.

  14. lesile said

    Amend:
    “No wonder gov does not want to let us know how much they profit from us” Remember it takes 52 years even for president to know Singapore’s reserves. For Singaporean, it take infinite time to know how much gov profit from Singaporean.

  15. Keith said

    It will be an exciting place for the rich and foreigners; unfortunately not so for the poor, low income and elderly. The elderly who have toiled all their lives, will have to work longer so that they do not become a burden to the govt. There is no such thing as retirement in S’pore for them.

  16. Keith,

    I am glad you have recognized that there is no such thing as retirement for most elderly. This is despite the fact that citizens have been sacrificing their own material and other wellbeing for years to support a government which at the end only looks after itself its own interest and giving itself its own report cards without really caring for the citizens’ plight.

  17. Cs2 said

    It will be hard to justify the 3million pay package after the next elections. That is if the opposition can get their act together properly. In fact, they should start their challenges early rather than wait till the last minute or some ‘event’. Newspaper columns and opinion articles are a good way. My two cents.
    And by the way, its normal to win medals. Afterall, we are the ONLY free business center in Singapore without the islamic stigma our neighbours suffer from hence the only safe place in this region for foreign investments. So of course we are doing well now. Like a company with a monopoly, so even if the Johnson and Johnson CEO isnt very good, he is able to pay the directors to make them perform. So opposition, the good times in Singapore wont last long. The only time PAP will loose is when the economic environment is compromise and ‘directors’ feel their pay package is also compromised and leave. Honestly, i dont think they REALLY love Singapore to want to make it a better place. Hence the reason why Singapore govt increased their minister’s pay.

  18. aygee said

    I think, if everyone juxtapose PM Lee’s statements of our achievements as a nation, with the history of how Singapore was born, then maybe you can understand why PM Lee said those things for his speech.

    Let us remember that in 1965, we were thrown out of Malaysia. It was not something that LKY wanted. He and PAP had to form a nation, in the midst of the Confrontation with Indonesia, the Communist threat, and with the British colonials moving away.

    If we look at it from this aspect, i think in 42 years we’ve achieved quite a lot. Of course we cant compare ourselves with older nations, but still, as a city-state, without the backing of a European nation (such as Hong Kong), we’ve done a lot in 42 years.

  19. Lai CF said

    Such incidents prompt developed societies to scrutinise the effectiveness of their safeguards, as happened in Britain in the early 1990s. A committee concluded in 1995 that while the majority of people in public life met the high standards sought by citizens, there were weaknesses in the procedures for maintaining and enforcing those principles. Public officials, it determined, should be imbued with selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. The rules on declaration of property, assets and interests were subsequently altered.

    While the inquiry was held in Britain, its conclusions can readily be applied to all societies. People in public life the world over should have the seven attributes it outlined.

    Extract from MAcauDailyBusinessBlog on “MAcau Offcial Transparency”.

    —————————————————————————————–

    Will he talks about this SEVEN ATTRIBUTES come 19-August-2007?

  20. Lai CF said

    Aygee..will it last during post-Lee Kuan Yew era?

    or ended up like Tito’s Yugoslavia?

  21. points of interest in singapore

    The Prime Minister

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