Singapore must harness its diversity as strength: Heng Swee Keat

Singapore must harness its diversity as strength: Heng Swee Keat

file heng swee keat
File photo of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Even as people in different parts of the world are being driven apart by their differences, Singaporeans must "harness our diversity as a strength", Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday (Dec 31) in his New Year message.

Sharing his reflection on 2019 as the People’s Action Party’s 1st Assistant Secretary-General, he said that other parts of the world are seeing "sharper political polarisation, social unrest, and people driven apart by differences of race, religion, class or generation".

These divisions feed distrust and suspicion, hurting societies and their people, he said.

“In Singapore, our people have more diverse needs and experiences. We must not allow our differences to divide us.  Instead, we must harness our diversity as a strength,” he added.

The Singapore Together movement, which was launched in June and involves the Government partnering people to help shape the nation, is gaining momentum, he said.

“We have heard the concerns and aspirations of Singaporeans. We engaged our people on what we want to achieve for our country. More importantly, we are working with Singaporeans to put plans into action," he said.

A shared future for all Singaporeans must also mean “giving everyone a sense of hope and possibility”, Mr Heng said.

"For our seniors, we rolled out the Merdeka Generation Package this year. For our young families, we made owning their first home and preschool education for their children more affordable," he added.

Rail reliability has improved and there is a greater emphasis on environmental sustainability, the Deputy Prime Minister said.

On the economic front, Singapore has avoided a recession despite growth slowing, he added.

The Government will step up support for businesses to build new capabilities, and to help workers deepen and acquire new skills. 

“I understand that Singaporeans are concerned about the economic slowdown and the growing uncertainty in the global environment. We are looking at measures to tackle these, even as we build for the longer term,” he said.

"We are committed to investing in and creating opportunities for Singaporeans to make a better life, and ensuring that no one is left behind if they put in effort."

“In the coming year, I count on you, our comrades, to translate our vision for Singapore into action, in this Singapore Together movement. Let us bring Singaporeans together to work as one, and build an even better Singapore for all,” he added.

Source: CNA/ja