SINGAPORE - As Singapore embarks on a strategic shift in its approach to nation building and charts a new way forward, the ruling People's Action Party's leadership has to play the important role of managing policy changes, party chairman Khaw Boon Wan said on Saturday night.
Referring to the theme of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally in August, in which he set out a new way forward in social policy, Mr Khaw said at the PAP awards ceremony on Saturday night: "Singaporeans look to us, the PAP, to ensure that their welfare is protected."
The National Development Minister was speaking to 1,400 activists at Kallang Theatre.
He also stressed that amid policy changes, the party's purpose and values have remained constant. The PAP continues to act for Singaporeans, build a fair and just society and maintain high standards of integrity, he said.
His speech comes ahead of today's party convention, when PM Lee, the PAP's secretary-general, will address party leaders and activists on the theme of this year's convention, "Our New Way Forward: A Call to Action".
The PAP will also adopt a major resolution statement setting out its broad directions.
Giving a report card of the party's progress in the past year, Mr Khaw said it has strengthened party machinery, stepped up training of activists and recruited more members.
Party activists also played an active role in the Our Singapore Conversation, while the policy changes that Mr Lee announced in his Rally speech are being put in place.
Citing efforts to stabilise the housing market as an example of a policy change that needs to be managed, Mr Khaw said his ministry will start tapering off its massive home construction programme when supply and demand return to balance.
"We will however do so in a measured way, allowing the market to adjust," he assured.
The highlight on Saturday night was the presentation of medals to 353 party activists. Topping this year's honours list were Mr Kuek Chiew Peng, 58, Mr Samuel Ling, 54, and Mr Lim How Kim, 61, who received commendation medals.
They are known to go the extra mile to solve residents' problems and "hold their hands through the toughest journeys", Mr Khaw said.
Also honoured with a dedicated service star was Madam Tay Kwee Huay, 81, an activist at Geylang Serai for 50 years.
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