Addenda to President’s Address: We’ll prepare Singaporeans for vibrant digital economy, says MCI

Addenda to President’s Address: We’ll prepare Singaporeans for vibrant digital economy, says MCI

Office workers walk to the train station during evening rush hour in the financial district of Sing
Office workers walk to the train station during evening rush hour in Singapore's financial district. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE:  The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said on Thursday (May 10) that a slew of initiatives will be implemented to prepare Singaporeans for a more vibrant, innovation-driven digital economy, as well as create new jobs in the infocommunications, media and design (ICMD) sectors.

In his ministry’s addendum to the President’s address, Minister for Communications S Iswaran said Singapore must harness changes shaped by digital technologies to “create opportunities for all”. This means strengthening the ICMD sectors as “growth multipliers” and implementing the Infocomm Media Industry Transformation Map to create new jobs, he explained.

The minister, who took over the reins from Dr Yaacob Ibrahim in May, said it will expand its SMEs Go Digital programme to help these companies “ride this new wave of growth” and develop more targeted industry digital plans. The ministry will also launch the Open Innovation Platform – a virtual crowdsourcing marketplace for businesses to find partners to co-create solutions announced in this year’s Budget.

In order to get Singaporeans up to speed, Mr Iswaran said the ministry will ramp up the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) efforts to equip people with relevant skills, as well as launch digital leadership programmes to groom the next generation of leaders in digital transformation.

He added that Singapore’s digital economy will be supported by world-class infrastructure and regulations.

“We will improve connectivity with the fifth generation of mobile technology, and increase international data flows. We will ensure our regulations remain fit for purpose, including the Broadcasting Act and the Personal Data Protection Act,” said Mr Iswaran.

GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS ROADMAP IN THE WORKS

The minister also pledged to keep the cyber space secure, for it is the foundation of a smart nation, pointing out that the National Cybersecurity Strategy sets out a “comprehensive approach” to do so.

“Even as we encourage Singaporeans to embrace digital technologies to improve their lives, we must be on guard against threats and risks that propagate through such technologies,” he said.

One example of such threat is deliberate online falsehoods, and Mr Iswaran said apart from building Singaporeans’ information literacy, the ministry will use technology to “swiftly respond” to such threats including building up the Government’s Factually portal.

A Whole-of-Government Communications Roadmap will be developed too, even as the minister acknowledged an increasingly complex communications landscape. This, he said, will be to transform communications capabilities and use technology to “improve the way the Government engages different age groups and communities”.

Mr Iswaran said: “We will do more to engage Singaporeans better. Singaporeans at all levels will have an opportunity to voice their views and suggestions.

“We will continue to expand our pool of community, youth, and professional partners to widen our outreach to niche communities. We will also hold listening points in new areas to reach out to more segments of the population.”

Analysts had said after President Halimah Yacob’s address on Monday that the fourth-generation political leaders – of which Mr Iswaran is part of – will need to engage more intently with the younger generation of Singaporeans and build a new social compact with them.

Source: CNA/kk

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