Govt, religious groups, VWOs, private sector must keep solidarity: PM
- POSTED: 28 Sep 2013 22:22
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the government, religious organisations, voluntary welfare organisations and the private sector have worked together to build an economically successful and socially cohesive society.
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the government, religious organisations, voluntary welfare organisations and the private sector have worked together to build an economically successful and socially cohesive society.
This solidarity must be maintained in the face of new social challenges such as rising income inequality and ageing population.
He added that the government will do more to improve the lives of Singaporeans but it cannot and should not do everything.
This is because government assistance, given unconditionally, fosters entitlement mentality, instead of a sense of mutual obligation and gratitude between volunteers and the beneficiaries.
Mr Lee said: "In many areas, we depend on religious organisations and VWOs on the churches, the temples, the mosques - all the religious groups, because they are better placed than the government to help, because they have forged personal and community ties with their congregations and they know who needs help, and who deserves help, and how to deliver the help."
Mr Lee was speaking at the 50th anniversary dinner of the Church of St Vincent de Paul on Saturday.
About 1,300 guests attended the event, including Singapore Archbishop William Goh and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.
Mr Lee praised the Catholic Church in Singapore, saying it had made valuable contributions to Singapore by focusing on its social and spiritual mission and had played a role in strengthening racial and religious harmony.
He also cited examples of how the Church has set up many educational institutes and provided many social services through its welfare arm.
He added that religious institutions play an important role in society not just by giving spiritual and moral guidance but by complementing government programmes to help the less fortunate and strengthen the moral fibre of society.
Mr Lee noted that the government will remain neutral and secular in its stance and policies but will continue to work with religious groups to serve Singaporeans, especially to meet community needs and solve social problems.
The prime minister also urged the community and individuals to do more for one another.
Mr Lee said: "Not just expressing or asking for what we would like to have and expecting somebody else to do the good work and to make it happen. But making the effort ourselves to understand the issues and to develop proposals and then to do it...Rolling up our sleeves to do the heavy lifting - whether you are volunteering or fund-raising or putting up a performance - but making a real difference in the lives of others."