On behalf of the People’s Action Party of Singapore, I would like to thank the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee for the invitation to participate in the CPC and World Political Parties Summit.
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken centre stage across the world. Beyond being a public health crisis, COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects on our economies and the well-being of our peoples.
In confronting these unprecedented challenges, good governance as well as mutual trust and strong partnerships between governments and their peoples are critical. Political parties play a central role in distilling and expressing the will of our peoples, building support for national priorities, and leading our countries.
This Summit, with its focus on the responsibility of political parties for their peoples’ wellbeing, is a useful platform for us to share our experiences in dealing with these challenges and learn from one another.
Challenges of COVID-19
Singapore acted swiftly to contain COVID-19 once it hit our shores. We took stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus and protect our communities. These measures were not easy as they required people to change their way of life drastically and quickly. At the same time, the global economic dislocation wrought by COVID-19 had a significant impact on Singapore’s economy. To protect jobs and livelihoods, the Singapore Government set aside close to S$100 billion across five budgets to help our people weather the crisis.
Singaporeans have demonstrated fortitude and stayed united in the face of these challenges. They have also showed understanding and trust in their government, particularly in the necessity of the measures taken. It has taken tremendous effort and close cooperation between the Government and the people to bring our COVID-19 situation under control. We are now beginning to see some green shoots of recovery.
Singapore is a strong supporter of vaccine multilateralism. It is in our collective interest to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines for the world to recover fully. Singapore is also discussing mutual recognition of health certificates with key partners, including China, to facilitate the resumption of safe travel.
A sustainable global economic recovery requires countries to continue to uphold the commitment to strengthen economic integration and connectivity. Singapore is the first country to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Singapore is also working closely with like-minded partners to keep supply chains open to allow the continued flow of essential goods and medical supplies across borders amidst the pandemic.
Seizing Opportunities and Looking Ahead
Beyond the immediate impact of COVID-19, Singapore is looking to transform our economy and position ourselves to seize emerging opportunities as we enter a new phase of development.
The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation, with new economic activities and jobs coming to the fore. Singapore is working to equip our people with the necessary skills to ensure that they reap the dividends of digitalisation.
Another area is sustainable development and climate change. As countries around the world work to recover from COVID-19, it is imperative that we seize this opportunity for a “green reset” to build a more sustainable future for our children. Amidst the pandemic, Singapore launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030, a comprehensive roadmap towards sustainable development, net zero emissions and a green economy.
Good governance and effective policy implementation are the responsibility of governments, and governments are formed by political parties that have won the people’s support. As such, ruling parties have an important role to play in articulating the values that guide national policies, galvanising the people to action, and staying close to the ground. To achieve these goals, especially in times of crisis and rapid change, strong political leadership is key. It is the foundation upon which we forge a strong vision, execute long-term plans and share the benefits of growth. It is also the foundation for sustained cooperation with international partners beyond national borders. Singapore is committed to work with China and other countries as we pursue the shared objective of achieving good governance and improving the lives of our peoples.
On behalf of the People’s Action Party of Singapore, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my warmest congratulations to the CPC on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of its founding. China has achieved remarkable social and economic progress under the leadership of the CPC over the past century. We wish the CPC all the best as it continues to lead China onto a path of peace and prosperity. We look forward to the continued close partnership between Singapore and China and our ruling parties.