Mon, Aug 30, 2010
Part 3: Speech from National Day Rally 2010

This is the full speech of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally 2010.

New department at the Prime Minister's Office

PM Lee: There are many pieces to this story of immigration and foreign workers and talent and competition and so on and we need to draw all these threads together, to manage them holistically and make sure that Singaporeans benefit and the impact of these policies is well managed.

We don't have a ministry to do this but we will set up a Population and Talent Division in the Prime Minister's Office.

It's like Public Service Division (PSD) which is also in the Prime Minister's Office with a Permanent Secretary at a ministry level.

So PMO will cover it but I will delegate this and the Minister-in-charge of the Population and Talent Division will be Mr. Wong Kan Seng.

And he will coordinate the work of Home Affairs, of MOM, of MTI, of MCYS and make sure that all our policies fit together and the implementation works out well and everything runs okay.

But finally, finally the success doesn't just depend on the government policies, it's also the personal links and relationships and how individuals fit into our society and how we accommodate and we welcome them.

I give you one real example.

Ms. Dahlia Ho who is currently a medical technologist at Changi General Hospital. She helps with the pathologists examining specimens. She came to Singapore from Hong Kong at the age of 14 in the mid-90s.

At first she was a bit scared of Singapore because she had heard that in Singapore, not allowed to drink Coke, not allowed to chew gum.

It's actually untrue but that's the rumour and when she went to her new school she was one of only a few foreigners and she was quite worried about fitting in.

But then the local students found out that she was from Hong Kong and knew about the HK film stars and song stars, and so bonded with her because she could share information about these stars with them.

When she started working in Changi General Hospital, her supervisor, who's a local Singaporean, guided her, mentored her, and made a very big impact on her life.

because her supervisor was understanding and supportive, so when her mother fell ill and eventually passed away, she had to take time off and the supervisor accommodated her and made adjustments.

So because of the kindness shown to her by the Singaporeans whom she came across over the years, she decided to take up Singapore citizenship recently. Now she is now married to a local-born Singaporean, whom she met in JC.

And I hope they will have many babies soon.

Immigration will be a continuing issue for us. How do we keep the door open while protecting the interest of Singaporeans? How do we welcome citizens while holding to our values?

There are no ideal or permanent solutions to this issue.The new measures which I announce tonight will address some of these problems.

We'll have to mange, monitor, adjust as we go along. But remember we ourselves are all descendants of immigrants Our ancestors came poor, but their descendants worked hard and prospered.

Had our ancestors not come here, today' s Singapore wouldn't exist. So we have to continue to be open today so that we bring in the right people, manage the difficulties whatever they may be, so that a generation from now Singapore will still be thriving and prospering.

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Part 4: Speech from National Day Rally 2010
PM Lee on foreign workers, economy and education
New division to handle foreign talent
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