SINGAPORE - The "overarching challenge" for Community Development Councils (CDCs) is to find ways to unite Singaporeans, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at a South West CDC ceremony to thank outgoing members and welcome new ones.
At the ceremony, held at The Regent Singapore last night, he said: "As we become a society with more disparate interests, disparate views and preferences, we have to continually make effort to find common cause among Singaporeans.
"That's always been the Singapore agenda - emphasising the common interest of all Singaporeans and finding common cause with each new generation."
Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister, said that besides finding common groundfor people,CDCsare important in other ways, such as ensuring every child gets the best chance to do well in life; giving senior citizens opportunities to lead active, fulfilling lives; and preserving the environment and heritage.
To serve residents well, he said, CDCs must work close to the ground, coordinating corporate organisations, grassroots groups, voluntary welfare organisations and government agencies.
"I think we are off to a very good start in making things more resident-centric rather than agency-centric," he said.
For example, in 2012, the South West CDC launched an integrated registration and referral system so that residents seeking social services, financial assistance or other help need to only fill up one form.
South West CDC mayor Low Yen Ling, who took over from the previous mayor Amy Khor just last week, said she had four immediate priorities:
Roll out local initiatives.
Continue to encourage environmental responsibility among residents.
Promote community health.
Boost volunteerism in the district, home to some 830,000 people.
At last night's ceremony, 65 district councillors and 40 committee members were appointed to a three-year term.
They come from the corporate sector, grassroots groups and other sectors.
Of these appointees, 32 will be serving their first term on the CDC.
This article was first published on June 26, 2014.
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