Singapore needs to meet needs of young individuals and families

The three students who started a microbrewery in their university residence hall - but were stopped - have a risk-taking, enterprising spirit that society should support.

Making this point, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said he has taken a personal interest in helping Binjai Brew grow their business legally.

Mr Chee was one of three senior ministers of state from the fourth-generation of leaders who yesterday spoke in Parliament about how they felt Singapore should become a society that meets the needs and aspirations of young individuals and families.

The others were Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman.

Mr Chee recently met Binjai Brew founders Rahul Immandira, Heetesh Alwani and Abilash Subbaraman to discuss how to reduce red tape for start-ups like theirs.

Their microbrewery began at their hostel at Nanyang Technological University but was shut down as it is illegal to brew alcohol on campus.

Mr Chee said he and a Pro-Enterprise Panel made up of civil servants and business leaders have offered their help. They discussed how the licensing regime could be reviewed to lower barriers of entry for microbrewers to test new products in a trial period before more rigorous rules kick in when they scale up production and sales, he said.

Dr Maliki, meanwhile, said today's youths have different aspirations.

The journey matters more to them than the destination and they do not want to miss out on exciting experiences, he noted. Hence, home ownership and stable employment may not keep them anchored, as they seek to "revisit the social compact, where the government had a monopoly on masterplanning the public good".

To forge this new compact, the Government also stands ready to "revisit the current balance between meritocracy and compassion", he said, as this will help build a sense of common destiny and win the confidence of the young.

Dr Janil called for a transport system that caters to the needs of all commuters - especially one that allows seniors to commute independently.

The Government will also build connectivity to regional centres like Jurong, Punggol and Woodlands, to bring jobs and daily activities closer to home, he added.