Singapore's top 5 moments in 2018
PUBLISHED ON 28 Dec 2018
Singapore made great strides in the local and international community and these are our five favourite moments.
  1. Leadership renewal in the PAP
Quite possibly the hottest topic in 2018, apart from the weather.

On 23 November 2018, the 35th PAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) announced that Comrades Heng Swee Keat and Chan Chun Sing were elected 1st and 2nd Assistant-Secretary General respectively.

At the media conference Mr Heng said: “The younger ministers have chosen me as their leader and I've accepted…I'm deeply conscious of the heavy responsibility I'm taking on, leading the party and governing Singapore are massive and complex tasks," he continued.

Emphasising that governing Singapore will be a team effort, Mr Heng added: “Our team has strengths in different areas and a range of skills to deal with a complex set of internal and external challenges. Based on our experience of working together in the past few years, I'm confident we will work together to take Singapore forward and to improve the lives of Singaporeans.”

Secretary-General Lee Hsien Loong in a Facebook post said that the 4G team have been working together, learning to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. “They are gaining experience, willing to serve, and most importantly, with their hearts in the right place. I can see them gelling as a team and am confident that they have what it takes to lead Singapore,” he added. 
  1. Ensuring Singapore’s sovereignty
As an island state surrounded by bigger neighbours, upholding and defending Singapore’s sovereignty has always been a top priority.

Singapore is no stranger to threats from the region, pertaining to its sovereignty.

The recent issue of territory and airspace has driven home the point that no one owes Singapore a living, and Singapore will pursue international laws and mediation to ensure that Singapore’s sovereignty is not challenged or threatened.

Bilateral talks between Singapore and Malaysia will take place in January 2019, and we hope that an amicable agreement be reached between both countries.
  1. Taking a stand against deliberate online falsehoods
The subject of deliberate online falsehoods, commonly termed as fake news was the buzzword in the international community, with its effects seen in various countries over the years.

This year, Singapore conducted a public hearing over eight days with more than 60 witnesses.

A Committee, chaired by Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Punggol East Mr Charles Chong conducted the hearings. Along with other 10 members, the committee deliberated over the opinions and submissions on the effect of deliberate online falsehoods and the various countermeasures that can be taken to curb such falsehoods.

Later in September, the Committee submitted its report and unanimously agreed there is a need to provide the necessary scope, speed and adaptability to counter the spread of online falsehoods.

Some of the specific recommendations for the Government include:
  • Consideration for a national framework to coordinate and guide public education efforts about the problem of online falsehoods
  • Powers for the Government to swiftly disrupt the spread and influence of online falsehoods
  • Criminal sanctions to be imposed on perpetrators of deliberate online falsehoods
  • Consideration for legislation and other forms of regulatory guidelines for technology companies to tackle online falsehoods
  • Study countermeasures and develop a national level strategy and coordinated approach to counter State-sponsored disinformation operations
In November, several members of the Committee also participated in the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’ in London, sharing Singapore’s stand with the global community.
  1. Singapore as ASEAN Chair
The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) membership is valuable to Singapore as it connects our country to a network beneficial for our progress.

ASEAN rotates its chairmanship annually, and as ASEAN Chair for 2018 focussed on innovation and resilience of member states to reflect the challenges and opportunities for ASEAN countries.

Among the achievements with Singapore as Chairman this year were: 
  • The ASEAN Smart Cities Network with action plans for 26 pilot cities to create innovative solutions to improve people's lives
  • ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce and the ASEAN-wide Self Certification scheme to facilitate cross-border online transactions
  • Youth-centric investments such as the ASEAN Youth Fellowship and the Singapore-ASEAN Youth Fund
ASEAN continues to uphold ASEAN-centric frameworks, engaging partners to keep the region open and inclusive. Singapore will continue to work with the rest of the ASEAN family towards the common goal "One Vision, One Identity, One Community."
  1. North Korea – United States Summit: A historic moment in Singapore
On 12 June 2018, Singapore played host to a historic meeting between two countries, North Korea and The United States of America.

The North Korea–United States Summit was the first-ever meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

The two leaders, President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un had a one-on-one meeting and were later joined by their respective delegations for an expanded bilateral meeting.

At the end of the Summit, both leaders signed a joint statement and reiterated their commitment to maintain lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, a significant moment for international peace and security.