Urging Singaporeans to be intrepid, tough, resolute, and united, PM Lee’s National Day 2019 message was bracing and optimistic. PM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day message was recorded in Jewel, at Changi Airport with the waterfall and lush garden in the background.
With a special mention of Singapore’s Bicentennial, the Prime Minister started off by noting the many activities in various communities to commemorate the Bicentennial. PM Lee said “These activities remind us that our history stretches back well before 1965 when we became independent, and even before 1819 when the British arrived,” adding that Singapore has gone drawn from many cultures and traditions in its journey towards nationhood.
Outlining the events of the year so far, PM Lee acknowledged that the economy has slowed down due to the weakening of global demand and international trade. In particular, he noted that the manufacturing sector and trade-related services in Singapore has been affected by this downturn, especially the electronics sector which “performed strongly last year”.
Even so, PM Lee bracingly said, “We have experienced such slowdowns before, and we will take this one in our stride,” assuring people that the government will stimulate the economy if it is necessary.
PM Lee highlighted three “grave challenges” that Singapore will have to face. “ One – economic uncertainties, with trade and globalisation under pressure. Two – strategic risks, with growing frictions between the major powers. And three – existential threats, with global warming and rising sea levels.”
On the economic front, PM Lee warns that Singapore has to be prepared for a “very different future” brought about by disruptions the industry. However, he is assured that based on Singapore’s past experience, the country can thrive.
PM Lee outlines some of the progress the country has made in transforming industries such as researching new cures for diseases, pushing boundaries in fintech services, expanding seaports and airports to meet growing demands, and the scaling up of local businesses into the international market.
The premier also noted the country’s investment in people and upgrading the workforce via intiatives like SkillsFuture.
“By continuing to invest heavily in people, we enable each one of us to take advantage of new opportunities at every stage of life. This is a joint endeavour. The Government will keep on helping every citizen to achieve your potential and contribute your best to Singapore.”
On that note, PM Lee reiterated the government’s intention to make pre-school and tertiary education more affordable as well as helping older Singaporeans with healthcare and retirement needs.
“For those who wish to work longer, we will be raising the retirement and the re-employment ages,” continued the PM, adding that more details will be revealed at the National Day Rally.
On his next point, PM Lee said, “we must continue to renew our city”.
“Recently a foreign leader, visiting us for the first time, told me that as his airplane flew over the island, he knew at once that he was over Singapore. Because, looking out of the window, he could see that every corner of the island had been meticulously thought through and lovingly tended – every housing precinct, every landmark, every patch of park and greenery. The island was a sparkling diamond, with brilliant facets catching the eye.”
This led PM Lee to point out Singapore’s most recent gem, Jewel at Changi Airport. “We are very proud of our new gateway to the world,” he said. “It shows that Singaporeans not only have the creativity and daring to reinvent ourselves, but also the passion and the competence to turn dreams into reality.”
Jewel, said the PM, is one of the many things that Singapore has done to “remake our city” and that other projects like the Changi Terminal 5, Tuas Megaport, Jurong Lake District, and redevelopment of the Paya Lebar Airbase and the Greateer Southern Waterfront will “keep us busy and create new opportunities for Singaporeans for decades to come.”
In order to stay ahead, Singapore has to constantly come up with new ideas and be ready to break new ground, says the PM.
Urging Singaporeans to be intrepid, tough, resolute, and united, PM Lee ended his message by calling for Singaporeans to continue working together. “Let us continue to work together as one united people to thrive in an uncertain world, challenge ourselves to explore new horizons, and commit our hearts and souls to Singapore and its future.”
Watch the message here: