Ministries to discuss follow-up to national dialogue

OUR SINGAPORE CONVERSATION

GOVERNMENT ministries involved will soon be discussing what comes next after the year-long Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) exercise wraps up later this year, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

"We will do a reflection of what we've heard over the last one year, and together with the ministries that have done more in-depth work on specific areas we will be thinking hard about how best" to carry on the meaningful engagement, said Mr Heng, who is also chairman of the OSC committee.

He was speaking to more than 100 grassroots leaders participating in the closing session of the second phase of the national conversation sessions organised by the People's Association (PA).

He said the OSC process so far has been meaningful, dismissing suggestions that it was "NATO - No Action, Talk Only".

He pointed to this year's Budget where "for the first time ever, the Finance Minister in his speech spoke about what he gathered from the OSC and how the inputs came in from different ministries and informed changes in various policies".

Yesterday's session, held at The Grassroots Club in Ang Mo Kio, took stock of feedback gathered from more than 4,000 residents and grassroots members who took part in the 23 sessions held in April and June in the second phase of PA's exercise.

PA deputy chairman Lim Swee Say and PA chief executive director Ang Hak Seng were also present.

Grassroots leaders summed up the concerns shared by residents who spoke on key themes, including how to strengthen national identity and kampung spirit, as well as how to care for the elderly and disadvantaged in society.

Mr Lim, who also heads the labour movement, applauded the desire of many grassroots leaders to be "co-creators" with the Government in policy formulation.

This would help it come up with and implement better policies, but also know when those policies need to be reviewed and changed, he said.

tracyq@sph.com.sg


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