President Halimah Yacob said that the PAP Government’s focus in its new term would be to build a better nation together with all Singaporeans.
After swearing in the 14th Parliament, President Halimah gave a speech at the Opening of Parliament.
Setting out the task before us, she said, “Our pioneers prevailed against great odds to build Singapore, and it is now our turn to tackle this crisis of a generation. How we respond to this pandemic and economic crisis will define Singapore for many years to come. ”
She said the PAP Government’s priorities in the upcoming term would be:
- Jobs for Singaporeans
The PAP Government’s top priority is securing jobs for Singaporeans.
Singapore makes our living from trading with the world. But with COVID-19 and new waves of protectionism, this will be disrupted. We need to transform our economy and remain a regional hub, so that we keep creating good jobs for Singaporeans. President Halimah recognised the anxieties around jobs felt by Singaporeans, especially mature workers, mid-career Singaporeans and low wage workers. She assured that the Government would keep doing its best to help them.
We also need to make a major push for sustainable growth, so that our jobs are secured for the long term.
- A Fair and Just Society
President Halimah said that we are entering an era of volatility and disruption. Therefore, individuals will need greater support at every stage of life. We need to further strengthen our social safety nets for Singaporeans, but in a way that is financially sustainable for our children and grandchildren.
But redistribution cannot be the only way to help those who are doing less well. To keep social mobility high, we need to update our meritocracy to recognise different types of talents. Through the next bound of SkillsFuture, we must give Singaporeans opportunities to advance at every stage of their lives, regardless of their starting point.
We also have to uplift the most vulnerable in our society, such as those with disabilities, students from disadvantaged families and the elderly. President Halimah called on Singaporeans to join the Government in this mission.
- Stronger Shared Identity
We need to recognise new perspectives among our people and use them to build a better Singapore. To do this, we will need to handle our differences constructively and be open to new ways of doing things.
President Halimah mentioned issues such as race and religion and competition for jobs from work pass holders. But she cautioned that such issues are emotive and could be divisive, and therefore such conversations need to be handled sensitively.
After robust debate, we need to forge a stronger shared identity and a willingness to work together for Singapore.
President Halimah concluded, “Singapore must come together, in partnership, to pursue the greater good, united by a belief in Singapore and a desire to turn our vision into reality. This is the spirit of Singapore Together. We invite all Singaporeans to partner each other and the government in this journey.”
Image credit: CNA’s Facebook