Urging Singaporeans not to be overly despondent about the state of the economy, labour chief and Tanjong Pagar Member of Parliament (MP) Chan Chun Sing called on them to instead work hard to achieve economic growth of 1 to 3 per cent forecasted for this year.
Opportunities are still available, as are “good jobs, so long as we are prepared to undertake some training”, said Mr Chan last night to about 1,000 residents of Tanjong Pagar and Radin Mas at the constituencies’ annual Chinese New Year celebration dinner.
Despite global forces not in Singapore’s favour this year, with big economies such as China, the United States and neighbouring countries facing challenges, the situation is not uniform throughout the world and some sectors are faring well because of low oil prices, he said.
Beyond short-term cyclical factors, the Government’s most pressing concern is to work with companies on medium- and long-term structural issues, said Mr Chan, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. These include manpower shortage and change in trade flows that will affect traditional industries.
“When the global upturn comes around, we must make sure we have the best conditions possible for our industries and our workers to do even better than what we are doing today, so we can continue to create good jobs, allow our workers to earn a good living to take care of our families,” he said.
Security, which is an issue foremost of the Government’s concerns recently, was something that the minister also touched on. Calling on Singaporeans to unite against security threats, Mr Chan said Singaporeans must not allow suspicion to be sown in the community. The Republic’s methods of tackling the threat must also evolve — such as through a new generation of inter-faith and inter-religious confidence circle leaders coming forward to bond the community.
“If we can do that well, then I’m sure that terrorists will have to think twice before they target us,” said Mr Chan, who said Singapore society should not allow peace and normalcy to be destroyed by terrorist elements.
Joined by fellow Tanjong Pagar MPs and Radin Mas MP Sam Tan at the dinner, Mr Chan also spoke about honouring the pioneer generation. Noting the first anniversary of the founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s death coming up next month, Mr Chan said Singaporeans could honour pioneers by ensuring Singapore’s continued success, by taking care of the community better and by maintaining “the ability and the guts to dream big”.
Mr Lee and his generation of leaders dreamt big for Singapore by undertaking projects such as the cleaning up of Singapore River as well as the reclamation of some offshore islands to form Jurong Island, which enabled up to one-third of the world’s petrochemical flow through Singapore, said Mr Chan.
The present leaders want to do the same for the next generation, he said. “Our greatest hope as leaders of this country is not to go down in history as being the best ever. Our aim is to go down in history (as having helped) Singaporeans to stand taller and see further. Just as our pioneer generation of Mr Lee and his compatriots have done for us.”
news source & image credits: todayonline.com