SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the ruling party is determined to keep Singapore an open and compassionate meritocracy, and a fair and just society, as the People's Action Party (PAP) updated its goals for the 21st century at a party convention.
Addressing 1,400 PAP members at the Kallang Theatre on Sunday, PM Lee said the party's new resolution was aimed at re-interpreting its goals as the PAP forges a new way forward amid a changing Singapore.
"We are at an inflection point. Our society is more diverse. Our economy is more mature. Our political landscape is more contested," he said.
The PAP was responding to this through its renewal and transformation at the mid-term of the Government formed after a watershed general election in 2011.
The changes were in line with Mr Lee's National Day Rally message, of a strategic shift in the social compact, for the state and community to play a bigger role in creating a fair and just society.
Speaking in Malay, Mandarin and English, Mr Lee announced a new PAP seniors group chaired by Parliament Speaker Halimah Yacob and with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong as adviser, to champion the cause of the elderly. Caring for Singapore's pioneer generation is one aspect of a fair and just society, Mr Lee added.
He stressed the need to strengthen the Singaporean identity by maintaining the common space among people of different races and religions, observing that these remain powerful forces and that religious consciousness today is stronger than before.
Mr Lee, the PAP's secretary-general, said the party must be clear about its direction as it alone can provide national leadership. It last revised its founding goals to build a vibrant, multiracial, just and fair society in 1988. It is time to interpret and update them.
"We can all agree these are the right things to do... But what do these ideals mean tangibly, concretely, in this day and age? We must interpret these goals in the new phase and with a new generation," he said.