PAP sticks to mission of fair and just society

THE goal of a "fair and just society" was in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Facebook post and National Day Message.

He repeated it during the National Day Rally speech on Sunday: "The Government must intervene more to keep ours a fair and just society."

This goal appears to be linked back to the mission of the People's Action Party (PAP), which is to build a fair and just society where the benefits of progress are spread widely to all.

Some may be surprised to see on the PAP website that its mission is not more economically focused, while others may be surprised that it is so redistributive.

Understanding the PAP's mission is helpful in setting in context Mr Lee's speech on Sunday. The strategic shifts his Government will make are not radical departures from past practices.

The Government is not moving towards a different goal, but is pressing towards the same goal of building a fair and just society - a vision that has won over Singaporeans since 1959. In a way, with this speech, the PAP is returning to its roots.

But changing times - especially a more global labour market and onset of an ageing society - require strategic shifts to support the concepts of a fair and just society. The basic concepts for that society: First, the rule of law applies to everyone with due process.

Second, anyone should be rewarded equally for similar work and effort.

Third, equal opportunity to succeed should be provided to all, with more support being provided to those who start off with disadvantage.

The policies introduced during the rally are aligned to those goals and help ensure that the benefits of progress are widely spread to all.

For example, the health-care benefits for the "Pioneer Generation" support the concept that their past hard work and contributions which enabled our progress should be justly rewarded.

Setting aside more spaces for those without affiliation for primary school admission and providing Edusave to all provides more equal opportunities to succeed.

The writer is a regional director working in a multinational corporation.

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