PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong focused on several shifts in social policies in the areas of housing, health care and education. A key to success in these social policies is sustainability.
Sustainability was evident in PM Lee's rally speech. Changes in health policies are to be funded through higher Medisave contribution rates, and rises in MediShield premiums and taxes when economic conditions are right.
Sustainability was also relevant when he called on Singaporeans to work with the Government and the community to build a better Singapore for ourselves and future generations.
PM Lee described the plans as acts of faith in Singapore, stressing the need to ensure Singaporeans stay united and have an honest and trustworthy leadership - all important pillars of sustainability.
Beyond these fundamentals, there is a need to implement social policies in such a way that they are complemented and supported by all other public agencies, and reinforced by policies that may not appear to be "social" in nature.
This means the key performance indicators of economic and manpower agencies, and the evaluation of their policy success, have to be well integrated with the intended outcomes of social policies.
For example, an economic agency should focus not only on getting more investments, but also pay special attention to whether those billions translate into better-paying jobs for citizens in the lower- and middle-income groups.
Manpower policies that raise employment rates must also improve job and career prospects of all Singaporeans.