Govt, people to continue S'pore Story: PM

THE next chapter of the Singapore Story will have to be written by both the Government and the people, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night, as he sketched how the country must remain special as it looks towards its next 50 years.

"We will debate and argue over what the chapter should contain, how the story should develop," said Mr Lee at the swearing-in ceremony of the Cabinet at the Istana.

"We will do that online and offline, in civil society and in Parliament. That is normal and healthy. But at the end, we are all co-authors of the chapter. We all have to work together and we all want the story to have a happy outcome."

Mr Lee was addressing about 700 people - including newly elected MPs, diplomats and Singaporeans from all walks of life - at the ceremony of office-holders of the new Government.

On Sept 11, the ruling People's Action Party won a resounding 69.9 per cent of the popular vote.

Mr Lee, who is also secretary-general of the PAP, said that in the new term, an area that needs review is the economy and an issue to look at is how Singapore can continue to create opportunities even in a weaker global economy. He revealed that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will chair a committee on The Future Economy to study this.

An exhibition titled The Future Of Us will open in December at Gardens by the Bay, he said. It is the last major event to celebrate the country's 50th year of independence this year, and will showcase Singapore's journey from Third World to First, as well as look forward to the many possibilities beyond SG50.

Mr Lee also spoke about the strong mandate Singaporeans gave to his team. Such a decisive result could only have happened with support from all groups of Singaporeans, he noted.

"The real winners in this election were Singaporeans. We have a strong, stable government, able to take Singapore confidently into the future," he said.

Externally, the strong mandate sent an important signal to the world: Singaporeans are determined to keep Singapore special.

He revealed that a multinational corporation raised its stakes in Singapore by making another billion-dollar investment here, which will create more good jobs for Singaporeans, after the election.

Internally, Mr Lee said the clear mandate has enabled him to form a strong Cabinet team. The new Cabinet has both experienced ministers who will provide steady hands in a challenging environment, and younger ministers who will bring new perspectives and ideas, he noted.

"We are planning ahead because Singaporeans expect their leaders to do so. You have entrusted Singapore to me and my team, not just because of what we have done, but also because you are confident of what we will do," said Mr Lee. "You trust that we will act on our words and live up to our promises and we will."

He added: "We are not done building Singapore and we will never be.

"The Singapore Story belongs to all of us. If we have faith that Singapore will endure and thrive and put our hearts and souls into building Singapore, then we will prevail and secure our place in history."