Lower-income groups, in particular, will be given stronger reassurance. More details will be given at this year's National Day Rally, traditionally held in August.
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Here is an excerpt from PM Lee's speech in Parliament on the President's address, sharing fruits of progress; strengthening social safety nets, healthcare and retirement adequacy, in point form:
- Have reviewed our progress in the first half of this term
a. Even as we tackle the immediate issues, we must look to the future
b. Exciting opportunities ahead: Continued growth in Asia, ASEAN integration, new industries, globalisation of information
c. At same time, rapid changes and widening inequalities are causing angst and restlessness all over the world, e.g.
i. China: Middle-income doubt they can lead better lives than their parents, and are unhappy that others are doing better than them
ii. Hong Kong: Residents protesting against influx of Mainlanders (mainly tourists), and rising costs of living
(1) Sylvia Lim made a major point about Bhutan's Gross National Happiness (GNH) in the debate when Parliament opened in 2011
(2) At that time Bhutan Government made GNH a big part of its agenda
(3) But last year it got voted out!
(4) New PM says GNH "overused" and "distracted (the Government) from the real business at hand", including tackling major problems with chronic unemployment, poverty corruption and a sense that politicians were too remote
(5) Notice Sylvia Lim did not mention GNH today
iv. Not disparaging the efforts of others, but pointing out that every country has its own challenges. We should see our own problems in perspective, and not always believe that the grass is greener on the other side
v. Happiness is a state of mind. We can be better off, and yet, if we succumb to the urgings of those who promote envy, then we will always be unhappy
- Singaporeans experience the same global trends, hence understandable that we too feel anxious and concerned
a. But much that we can and must do, to secure our future and give ourselves greater peace of mind
b. We will work hard to fulfil our vision of a "fair and inclusive society, where every citizen has a rightful place and the opportunity to fulfil his or her aspirations"
- How will we do this?
a. Sharing the fruits of progress, and strengthening social safety nets
b. Keeping pathways upwards open to all
c. Firing up the human spirit
d. Getting our politics right
Sharing fruits of progress; strengthening social safety nets
- First, we will share the fruits of progress more widely, and strengthen social safety nets
a. How we build a fair and inclusive society
b. The yin to the yang of self-reliance and competition
- Indeed we have been doing so for many years, even before I became PM
a. ESM Goh introduced Edusave, Medifund, HDB Special Housing Assistance Programme, etc.
b. I took it further after becoming PM - ComCare (2004), Workfare (2006), Medifund-Silver (2008), etc.
c. In this 12th Parliament we have gone even further, and broken new ground in our social policies
i. Government and community doing more to support individuals
ii. Helping not only lower-income, but middle-income families too, e.g. through SHG, Wage Credit Scheme, CHAS (Community Health Assist Scheme)
d. Will continue to do more where necessary, especially for healthcare and retirement adequacy
e. Hence recent moves to strengthen political leadership of social ministries, e.g. Sam Tan as MOS in PMO to coordinate social policies, Yen Ling as Parl Sec in MSF and MCCY