SINGAPORE: Singapore must continue investing in capabilities to emerge stronger after the COVID-19 crisis recedes, the People's Action Party (PAP) said.
“We’ll step up efforts to transform and grow our economy, to make it more innovative and resilient, so as to create new opportunities for all Singaporeans," PAP first assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat said in its first party political broadcast on Thursday evening (July 2).
“We must deepen our links with the world, work with like-minded partners to keep trade flowing and enable more of our businesses, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, to expand beyond our shores.”
Locally, Mr Heng said the PAP will promote new growth areas to create more good jobs. This will be done with businesses and industries in the Emerging Stronger Taskforce, and by piloting new solutions through the Singapore Together Alliances for Action.
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The PAP will also continue to build a “more fair and just society” to ensure no Singaporean will be left to walk alone.
“We’ll continue to invest in the education of our young, with special support for those with greater needs,” said Mr Heng, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister.
“We’ll improve our social safety nets, working with partners to build communities of care across Singapore. We’ll give our seniors better support to retire comfortably, and strengthen our healthcare system to care for an ageing population.”
Together with additional support in education, he said this will relieve pressure on “sandwiched” Singaporeans who are caring for both young children and aged parents.
Beyond that, he said the PAP will not stop building Singapore into a “better home” through municipal improvements and national projects.
“Singaporeans can look forward to a better quality of life and to a greener, more connected, more liveable city,” he added.
Looking ahead to 2100 and beyond, he said the PAP is implementing “bold plans” for Singapore to live sustainably and protect against climate change as well as rising sea levels.
“But just as at past turning points in our history, for plans to become reality, we need strong partnerships among Singaporeans, and between our people and the Government,” he said. “This is what has given us an edge in this crisis thus far.”
He said all segments of society, including front-line workers, volunteers, community groups and businesses, have stepped up in the fight against COVID-19 by caring for the vulnerable and keeping the community going strong.
READ: Bringing society together is the 'critical issue' facing Singapore beyond elections: Heng Swee Keat
“We’ve shown what it means to be ‘Singapore Together’,” he said. “The PAP will strengthen this solidarity and bring every citizen on board.”
The Government has set up the Singapore Together Action Networks to engage partners from different sectors to turn ideas into action, he cited.
These ideas and passions will help Singapore emerge stronger as an economy, society and one people while creating a better future together, he said.
“To work together effectively, we must all pull in the same direction,” he added. “A strong and capable government will help us achieve this, even more so during a crisis.”
He said the PAP is up to this task and that its leadership team is “tested and proven”, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the older ministers having seen Singapore through many previous crises.
“Together with the 4G leaders, we have a leadership team that’s ready to take on whatever lies ahead,” he said.
“And as in past elections, we have many promising new candidates, to renew the bench and broaden the range of perspectives that we can draw on.”
READ: Singapore needs ‘best possible leadership’ and ‘solidly united population’ to get through COVID-19 and beyond: PM Lee
Mr Heng acknowledged that this election will be tough, with Singaporeans greatly affected by the pandemic and anxious about their future.
“We’ll fight hard to deserve your vote — in every SMC and every GRC — for every vote represents a hope for the future,” he said.
“I ask for your strong support, so that we can continue to work with you and serve you. Vote for the party that’ll secure our lives, our jobs, our future. Vote for the People's Action Party.”