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President Tan's speech was all-encompassing, say MPs

Members of Parliament that Channel NewsAsia spoke with said the speech by President Tony Tan Keng Yam was all-encompassing -- touching on issues such as transport, education and housing -- but also on softer issues.

SINGAPORE: Members of Parliament that Channel NewsAsia spoke with said the speech by President Tony Tan Keng Yam was all-encompassing -- touching on issues such as transport, education and housing -- but also on softer issues.

MP for Marine Parade GRC, Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef said the President's points on integration resonated with her, being the Adviser to the People's Association's Integration Council.

While MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, Alex Yam, agreed that Singaporeans should be encouraged to take part in constructive debate on policies.

Dr Fatimah said: "It is not segmented or different from what we're already doing. I think this is actually a progression from where we are already going and it charts the direction forward so that we know exactly where to fit this in.

"That's the way Singapore works, that's the way the government works because we have a vision and we work towards that vision."

Mr Yam added: "When someone makes a comment on a particular policy, is it because of a personal affect about it, or is it more because they do see some loopholes in the policy?

"So through constructive debate, we hope to make policy a lot more robust, a lot more all-encompassing; rather than saying, 'your view is not my view, therefore I should discount it totally.'"

Referring to President Tan's speech, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob said many pieces of the puzzle related to the elderly have already been put in place - the biggest one being the Pioneer Generation Package.

But she would also like to see more done to encourage the elderly to continue to live in the community.

She said: "We need to look at how the incentives are provided for home-based care, and secondly, how to give more support to caregivers.

"I must also repeat my call for eldercare leave which is very important to provide that kind of support, to encourage ageing in the community."

Meanwhile, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Yee Jenn Jong, said there is still a lot to catch up on in the pre-school sector, which he said in previous years was driven largely by the private sector.

"I'm with the government on this in wanting to see more affordable and quality preschools and also more people coming into the industry -- that the educators are being respected for being in that profession," he said.

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