SINGAPORE: The Community Development Councils (CDCs) are not just “hands and legs” on the ground to implement programmes, but must continue to be a bridge between residents and the Government, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday (May 24).
The five councils – Central Singapore CDC, North East CDC, North West CDC, South East CDC and South West CDC – can also play a role in coming up with new ideas to tackle urgent issues and national priorities like worker upgrading and SGSecure, Mr Lee said.
Mr Lee was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of mayors at the People’s Association headquarters.
On worker upgrading, Mr Lee said he hoped CDCs will support the work of the Future Economy Council by encouraging their residents to adapt to changes in Singapore’s economy by adopting lifelong learning.
“Our economy is restructuring, and workers need to upgrade themselves,” he said, noting that the national SkillsFuture initiative offers schemes and support for workers to do so.
“But realising lifelong learning and constant upgrading requires not just programmes and resources – for many people, it is also a mindset change,” he said.
CDCs also need to support the national SGSecure movement, and help build rapport between people and public institutions such as the Home Team and the People’s Association grassroots organisations, Mr Lee said.
Singaporeans can be strong only if ties are close and there is trust, despite having different backgrounds, ethnic groups or faiths, he said.
“It is patient work which will take years, but it will pay off handsomely if ever we experience a terrorist attack, like this recent one in Manchester,” he said.
By involving volunteers in meaningful projects, Mr Lee said CDCs can strengthen the community spirit and develop active volunteers.
Five mayors were sworn in at the ceremony, including South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling, South East District Mayor Maliki Osman, North West District Mayor Teo Ho Pin, and Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua. Mr Desmond Choo was also sworn in as the new mayor of North East District, replacing Mr Teo Ser Luck, who will step down at the end of his term on May 26.