PM: Stand together for the future
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day message
In his National Day message yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the toil and courage that went into creating the racial harmony enjoyed by Singapore today - and outlined the challenges to this unity.
"In multi-religious societies, terrorism has caused distrust and tensions," he said.
"In many advanced economies, growth is disproportionately benefiting a minority of the population.
"In cities across the world, graduates struggle to find jobs, and young couples can't afford homes."
And this can cause political instability, he said, referring to the Brexit situation where the UK voted to leave the European Union.
This threat can tear us apart, Mr Lee warned. Singapore is being targeted, and self-radicalised individuals have been found and detained. But he believes this challenge can be met.
He said Singaporeans had to acknowledge the threat honestly and he called on citizens to stand together and strengthen trust in our multi-religious society.
PROSPERITY FOR ALL
Every child will have a good start in life, said Mr Lee. Pre-schools are expanding and being upgraded.
Schools will cater to different talents so that every student can realise his potential and dreams.
Adults can use SkillsFuture to master valuable new skills, and companies are being helped to transform and innovate, so they can navigate a changing global economy.
And while safety nets like Workfare, Medishield Life and the Pioneer Generation Package have been strengthened, they also have to be sustainable, "because our children must not be burdened with debt", he said.
The political system is being updated, he said.
Singaporeans are coming together to solve problems and get things done, from developing Pulau Ubin to charting our future economy.
"We are fine-tuning our electoral system, to make GRCs smaller and create more SMCs. The Constitutional Commission is studying improvements to the elected Presidency, to make it a more effective unifying institution and a stabiliser," he said.
The PM identified the most crucial factor to take us through the future: Unity.
"It's more than a warm, fuzzy feeling. It's the iron resolve to hold together, despite the challenges, despite the sacrifices we have to make."
Mr Lee said: "It was our forefathers' determination to be "one united people, regardless of race, language or religion" that drove them to transform Singapore over the last 50 years. This same resolve will carry us through the next 50."