Minister Chan says Singapore should not limit itself
Chan Chun Sing responds to President Halimah Yacob's inaugural address
Doing what is best for the country - that is the ambition Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing wants Singaporeans to embrace as they chart the nation's course for the next 50 years.
Responding to President Halimah Yacob's inaugural address at the opening of Parliament last week, Mr Chan said: "We can together become Singapore unlimited.
"Unlimited by our geography, unlimited by our size, unlimited by our resources.
"We can only be limited by the scale of our ambition and drive, and the scale of our ambition and drive will determine how far we progress as a nation for the next 50 years and more."
Mr Chan was one of 15 MPs who responded yesterday to Madam Halimah's address, in which she urged the current generation of leaders to make bold changes to take Singapore forward.
Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh called on Singapore's fourth-generation (4G) political leaders to demonstrate this boldness by being more open to alternative views and better explaining their decisions, particularly on issues such as the hike in water tariffs and rise in transport costs.
In his first parliamentary speech as party chief, he also said the call for boldness should not preoccupy the 4G leadership alone.
The transition from third-generation to 4G leaders "presents a unique opportunity for each Singaporean to question what we can do to make Singapore a better home for all of us".
Mr Chan, one of the 4G leaders touted as a potential candidate for prime minister, said despite Singapore's size, it can secure its place in the world by staying relevant and principled.
Beyond having good systems, Mr Chan added that Singapore must have good people.
He said: "We need to find the strongest set of individuals - not to solve current problems alone, but to prevent future problems from arising in the first place.
"The PAP Government will spare no effort. This applies to the political leadership team, as much as it applies to the public service and business community. Agreeing with us is not the prerequisite. Agreeing to put Singapore first and foremost is the prerequisite."
Leaders should also have the resolve to do what is best for Singaporeans, without shying away from making difficult or unpopular decisions, said Mr Chan.
Mr Singh said: "The impetus and authority behind a new boldness in Singaporeans should hearken back to the title of the President's Address - a call for a strong people-government partnership to build our future Singapore."
In a rallying cry, Mr Chan said Singapore's current generation can and will write the next chapter of the Singapore success story together.
Singapore's circumstances are unique as a small city-state with a multiracial society, situated in a volatile region, without a conventional hinterland and no one to depend on for its defence, said Mr Chan.
"And while we study other systems and adapt them where suitable, we must not copy blindly or become 'intellectually colonised'," he said.
"We must remain prepared to develop systems that work best for us.
"More importantly, for us to also constantly update them to meet our evolving needs."