The debate in 2 minutes

In yesterday's Parliament sitting, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wrapped up the debate on the Budget statement, responding to the 51 MPs who had spoken in the past three days.

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of Supply to debate the spending plans of the various government ministries.

New social compact

Making a passionate call for MPs to support the Budget, Mr Tharman said that it puts in place the major initiatives needed to build a new social compact for Singapore.

The social compact, in which "stronger collective responsibility" will work hand in hand with "personal and family responsibility", is the right path for Singapore, he said.

Moving up in life

There is greater social mobility in Singapore than in other advanced countries such as the United States, Britain and Denmark.

In Singapore, 14 per cent of young adults who started out in families in the lowest 20 per cent income group, moved into the top 20 per cent income group.

Only 7.5 per cent of young people in the US, 9 per cent in Britain and 11.7 per cent in Denmark achieve this.

Singaporeans should lead

Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang called on the Government to do more to ensure that Singaporeans play key roles at large companies.

For now, they are playing only supporting roles as middle managers, he said, warning that this could stunt talent development here.

New York of ASEAN

Singapore is poised to become "the New York of ASEAN", when the ASEAN Economic Community is established this year, said Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam.

He said Singapore is a centre for capital, with a safe environment conducive for businesses and rule of law, among other things.

More tickets for NDP

This year's National Day Parade will be the biggest, with two shows and double the number of seats for spectators.

To mark 50 years of independence, the historic parade will feature a main show at the Padang, where the first parade was held in 1966, and another bayside show at the Float@Marina Bay.

Altogether, there will be 51,000 tickets up for grabs.

Being prepared

Several MPs yesterday called for more public communication and education programmes to keep Singaporeans alert, in case a terror attack happens here, like it did in a Sydney cafe last year.

Besides keeping the borders secure, they said, it is important to prepare people so that they do not react to such attacks by turning against people of certain nationalities or faiths.


This article was first published on Mar 6, 2015.
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