PM Lee: We have protected Singaporeans for their healthcare and retirement needs

In his National Day message yesterday (8 Aug), PM Lee said his Government will continue to “invest heavily” in Singaporeans, to enable every citizen to achieve their potential.

“By continuing to invest heavily in people, we enable each one of us to take advantage of new opportunities at every stage of life,” he said.

“The Government will keep on helping every citizen to achieve your potential and contribute your best to Singapore. Each one of us must strive to improve ourselves, do our best, and chase our dreams.”

For younger Singaporeans, he said that his government intends to make preschool and tertiary education more affordable, especially for lower and middle-income families.

And to help older Singaporeans, he said his government has “protected them for their healthcare and retirement needs”.

“For those who wish to work longer, we will be raising the retirement and the re-employment ages,” he added.

He revealed that more will be said on these matters at the National Day Rally to be held on 18 Aug.

PM Lee: SkillsFuture programme has helped Singaporeans

PM Lee also noted that his SkillsFuture programme has helped build up the skills of tens of thousands of Singaporeans, helping them be “more productive and employable, and preparing them for the new jobs being created”.

It’s not known if he meant such new jobs include driving Grab and taxi, like in the case for Shaun Ow, 39. Shaun was retrenched 4-5 years ago but couldn’t find a job for more than a year before giving up. He ended up driving Grab to make ends meet.

Even though he manages to earn about $5,000 a month, after accounting for rental, fuel and other miscellaneous charges, he needs to work very long hours, driving everyday for 12 to 14 hours non-stop and with no spare time for his family.

“Passengers sometimes think our job is easy – sitting in an air-conditioned environment is easy. But I always tell them: You find one weekend, have two one-hour breaks for lunch and dinner, and sit in a comfortable sofa for 12 hours just watching TV. You will feel sore backs, sore shoulders, sore necks, sore everywhere,” he said.

In any case, PM Lee concluded his message urging Singaporeans to be united.

“Let us – today’s Singaporeans – be as intrepid as our ancestors who came from distant lands and made this their home; and be as tough as our parents and grandparents who endured war and occupation and rebuilt their lives. Let us be as resolute as the Pioneer Generation who fought for independence and founded our nation; and be as united as the Merdeka Generation who took up the baton and brought Singapore from Third World to First,” he said.

“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. Happy National Day!”