PM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Message has just been broadcasted.
If you didn’t manage to catch it on TV, here’s everything he said, summarised for you.
Thanking Everyone for Staying United During COVID-19
PM Lee started off his speech by thanking basically everyone for staying united during COVID-19.
Other than Safe Management Measures and vaccines, he also pointed out how Singaporeans supported and took care of each other, like contributing hand sanitisers in lifts or delivering food packs to those who are under quarantine.
Calling COVID-19 “the test of a generation”, PM Lee said that we emerged stronger and more united into a much better position. With a well-protected and highly vaccinated population, we have not needed to tighten measures despite the recent surge in cases.
So to everyone who was paranoid about another circuit breaker, I think you can rest assured now that it is unlikely to happen.
Preparing for Geopolitical Challenges
Despite moving forward from COVID-19, the pandemic isn’t the only challenge that Singapore has to worry about.
In particular, PM Lee pointed out worsening US-China relations and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the two major geopolitical challenges that Singapore faces.
He stated that US-China relations are unlikely to improve anytime soon, and that any miscalculations can easily make things worse. Additionally, Russia’s invasion has set it against many states, which is made worse by how Russia is a nuclear power.
Moreover, Russia’s violation of the fundamental principle of sovereignty is especially startling to Singapore, as it is those principles that underpin our security and existence. War in Europe will also affect regional security in the Asia-Pacific, which means Singapore is experiencing even more intense rivalry and tensions around us.
To deal with such challenges, unity will be the key to Singapore’s survival. Not only do we need to maintain a strong SAF and Home Team, we will also need to be psychologically prepared for instability.
Basically, we have to exercise Total Defence lah.
Transforming our Economy to Deal with Inflation
Even though our economy has bounced back from the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war has aggravated our supply chain and inflation issues.
With food and energy prices rising globally, Singapore has also been hit with an even higher cost of living. To help Singaporeans deal with this, the Government has multiple support packages already in place, and more to come in the upcoming months.
The Government has also tightened our exchange rate policy and strengthened the Singapore dollar, which will help mitigate imported inflation. However, we must acknowledge that such higher inflation levels and interest rates are here to stay.
Singapore will thus need to transform our industries, upgrade our skills, and raise our productivity. If we are successful, our wages will be able to rise higher than inflation.
Long-Term Plans for Singapore
Apart from such immediate issues, Singapore must also plan for the future.
PM Lee talked about how Gardens by the Bay, where he is speaking from, was planned decades before it was built. He also talked about how the Founder’s Memorial will be built at Bay East Gardens.
With Singapore’s success in planning decades ahead, the Urban Redevelopment Authority lanched the Long-Term Plan Review in 2021. After consulting with many people from all age groups and backgrounds, they have come up with plans to re-imagine our city’s future.
The URA Centre currently has an exhibition that showcases new concepts for major developments, and how we can create new communities and green spaces. There is no doubt that the way we live, work, and play will be transformed in the future, while still preserving our heritage.
Additionally, Singapore will also be investing more in our people to reach our full potential. Does that mean more SkillsFuture credits?
The country will also focus on issues like taking care of our elderly and vulnerable, as well as establishing a stronger common identity.
In fact, if you have any ideas on how Singapore should be like in the future, you can get involved via DPM Lawrence Wong and the 4G team’s Forward Singapore exercise.
PM Lee then ended off by saying that despite the challenges headed our way, as long as we stay united and resolute, we will emerge stronger out of the storms.
You can read his full address here.
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