Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s annual National Day Rally 2014 was held at ITE College Central, Ang Mo Kio, for the second time.
Wearing a turquoise shirt this year, PM Lee addressed three topics this year:
a) Giving Singaporeans full opportunities to achieve their potential;
b) Providing Singaporeans more assurance in retirement; and
c) Making Singapore a home for all ages.
Here are 7 key points of his National Day Rally:
1. Honouring our Pioneers
One of the main focus of SG50 celebrations is to celebrate the spirit of our pioneers.
The Pioneer Generation Package was conceived to thank our pioneers for their contributions. One outstanding member of the pioneer generation was Encik Yusof Ishak, our first President.
Singapore will honour him by naming the new mosque in Woodlands Masjid Yusof Ishak; renaming Institute of South East Asian Studies as ISEAS – The Yusof Ishak Institute; and creating a Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences in NUS.
2. Singapore at a turning point
World is in flux and conflicts far away can affect Singapore:
– Ukraine’s Crimea situation as well as the downing of MH17 which could easily have included Singaporeans
– Tensions in the South China Sea
– Positive political developments in Asia: New leaders in Indonesia and India.
3. Singapore’s challenges
– New generation with new aspirations
– Aging population with new social needs
– Potential for more to be done to improve Singapore
4. Education: Achieving our Potential
The government will help our students create a brighter future for themselves – not just the academic route, but also by getting good jobs, mastering skills, performing well, and gaining relevant qualifications, and advancing their careers.
The ASPIRE committee chaired by Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah will recommend how we can spread this culture to other companies, industries and sectors.
This is on a national scale and will involve MOM, MTI, MOE and led by WDA with Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam leading the tripartite committee including Government, union and the employers.
Public service to take the lead with People’s Association having a single scheme open to both degree and non-degree holders while Mindef has many paths for non-degree holders to progress.
Two important things for ITE and poly grads to achieve potential: Economic Growth and Cultural Change (feel proud of what they do, can improve their lives if they work hard, hope for better future).
5. Assurance in Retirement
1. Central Provident Fund and home ownership go hand-in-hand in providing for Singaporeans’ retirement.
2. The current Minimum Sum is not too much.
3. If one owns a house, he/she needs to set aside half of the Minimum Sum – or $77,500 – for those who turned 55 this July.
4. One have many options to get money from your house – rental, buy a smaller flat, do a Lease Buyback scheme.
Government will set up an advisory panel to study:
a) how people can be allowed to take out part of their CPF savings in a lump sum after the age of 65, subject to limits;
b) how the Minimum Sum should be adjusted over time, so that members can continue to get an adequate basic retirement payout;
c) how members can have more flexibility to invest their CPF savings; and
d) how CPF Life payouts can take account of cost of living adjustments.
6. Setting up a new office to focus on service delivery
One way to do this is to get agencies to work more closely together, to sort out municipal issues.
The government will set up a new Municipal Services Office, headed by Minister Grace Fu. It will coordinate the work of all the front-line agencies (LTA, PUB, NParks, NEA,AVA and Police) so they can serve people better. Another way to serve people better is to use technology to make Singapore a Smart Nation.
7. Making Singapore our best home
PM Lee announced that the Jurong Lake District would be next in Singapore’s continuing drive to transform the heartlands.
These includes the creation of the Jurong Lake Gardens, integrating the Chinese Gardens, the Japanese Gardens, and Jurong Lake Park. Government will also build a new Science Centre in the gardens – a jewel in the Lake Gardens crown. The High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur may also be sited at Jurong Lake District.