EXTRA! Milestones of PAP and Singapore + 2020 Calendar
ADVANCING SINGAPORE TOGETHER
A salute to our awardees at this year's PAP65 Awards and Convention
Mobile MPS an extra touch point to engage residents in Fengshan
Heartfelt moments that shaped Dr Tan Wu Mengâ€™s life perspectives
INSIDE NTUC SEC-GEN: WORKERS HAVE TO BE NIMBLE AND RESPOND TO CHANGING SITUATIONS
PUBLICITY AND PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE Lawrence Wong (Chairman) Desmond Lee Chee Hong Tat Seah Kian Peng Lim Wee Kiak Baey Yam Keng Zaqy Mohamad Janil Puthucheary Chiang Heng Liang Diana Pang Dexter Chan Theodora Lai Elaine Ho Adrian Liew EDITOR Chung Sang Pok EDITORIAL AND DESIGN Focus Publishing Limited (A subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings)
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4G team is Singapore’s team
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MPS anytime, anywhere The Mobile Meet-the-People Session is another touch point for Fengshan branch to engage residents.
4G leadership engages with Singaporeans The 4G team is meeting Singaporeans almost every week to better understand their concerns under the Ministerial Community Walkabouts.
A salute to our activists Ninety-year-old Comrade Ong Pang Boon, ƤǦ generation Cabinet, received the PAP’s highest honour. A total of 402 activists were presented awards.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary Dr Tan Wu Meng shares about pivotal moments which have shaped his outlook on life.
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PAP Secretary-General Lee Hsien Loong calls on Singaporeans to support the 4G team.
Making heartfelt changes
MCI (P) 121/03/2019 Petir is published by the People’s Action Party Central Executive Committee. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the prior consent of the publisher. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the PAP or the
PAP POLICY FORUM
1) Singaporeans will always come first 2) Helping workers to be ready for jobs of the future Two Ministers, Ms Grace Fu and Mr Ng Chee Meng discuss how the Government is helping Singaporeans to tackle the future economy.
Learning first-hand how to write policy paper Activists went through the rigours of policymaking when they researched a White Paper to better manage plastic waste.
PAP’s policy of meritocracy is a great equaliser for women 1st Assistant Secretary-General Heng Swee Keat praises the WW for its advocacy for women.
4G team is Singapore’s team PAP Secretary-General Mr Lee Hsien Loong says the next general election is about Singapore’s future and calls on Singaporeans to support the 4G team
he fourth-generation leadership team has taken shape over the last few years, and they know what is expected of them and what they must do, said PAP Secretary-General and Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong. ǲƥ ǡ they deserve the support of all of us – those older than them, as well as those younger than them. Back them, they are our team, they are Singapore’s team,” he said in a rousing speech to about 2,500 activists and representatives from the Labour Movement at the biennial PAP65 Awards and Convention whose theme was “Advancing Singapore Together”. It was held at the Singapore Expo on November 10, 2019.
Given the great uncertainty in the world, Mr Lee said the stakes are high as ǲƤǳ next general election which he said must be held by April 2021. “This election will decide if Singapore can sustain good and stable government, ơ a long time to come. A government that can safeguard the lives and well-being of Singaporeans today and tomorrow,” he said. Mr Lee stressed that while the Party has accomplished a lot already, there is still a lot more to do. Crucially, he warned there is a lot that “we can lose too if politics turns unstable or becomes dysfunctional.”
“The PAP must always remain the Party of the people.” – Mr Lee Hsien Loong, PAP Secretary-General
“The next election is about the future of Singapore,” he said. “We must convince Singaporeans that the PAP continues to be their champion, and that the PAP will work with them and for them, and advance Singapore towards a brighter tomorrow.”
and 2025. Announcing the hike early is the right and responsible thing to do, to show the Party is being upfront with voters on why the GST increase is necessary. The support package that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister
Trust, hope and unity Mr Lee called on the PAP to work even harder than any other political party for people to keep faith in it. He listed three priorities – maintaining trust in the Party, giving people hope for the future, and ensuring unity and social cohesion in Singapore’s society. On trust, Mr Lee cited the example of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is set to increase by two percentage points to nine per cent sometime between 2021
“We must convince Singaporeans to give us a strong mandate, not just to return a strong PAP government but also to secure Singapore for the long-term.” – Mr Lee Hsien Loong, PAP Secretary-General
Heng Swee Keat will introduce at Budget 2020 will help all Singaporean households – especially the lower-income group – cope with the changes, said Mr Lee. He also spoke of the need to give Ƥ for a better future. This is why the Government is spending heavily on education and SkillsFuture, to give every one opportunities to participate fully in Singapore’s success. The third imperative for the PAP is to keep our society united and cohesive. While the national identity has strengthened, the fault lines of race, language and religion surface from time to time, and it is important to manage racial and religious issues closely and sensitively, said Mr Lee.
“WHAT WE PROMISE IS WHAT WE WILL DELIVER”
he Government’s numerous policies have improved the lives of Singaporeans, said Mr Lee. Be it in healthcare, education, housing or transport, these are all affordable and high quality, and the Government will continue to work hard to improve them, he added. The Singapore of today is the result of many such plans that have borne fruit over the years – new MRT lines and stations, HDB townships like Punggol 21 Plus, Bidadari and Tengah, and the award-winning Jewel at Changi Airport. Mr Lee said there are many “bold plans” for the country’s future and “we deliver on them”. There are schemes to transform the city, enhance the standard of living, and make Singapore a “really special place” to live in. These include projects such as Tuas Port, Changi Airport Terminal 5, Jurong Lake District and the Greater Southern Waterfront. “Each one is a few words, but many years of effort and many spaces for ideas and opportunities. We will never reach the limit of what we can do in Singapore. The only constraint is our imagination and daring,” he said. “Every new generation will have the opportunity to shape Singapore to what it dreams, to what it imagines it can be. People also have hope because when we run into serious problems and we can see serious problems, we can show them that there is a way forward,” he said.
PAP puts partnerships with Singaporeans front and centre “Generations of PAP leaders and comrades have served with integrity, conviction and compassion. We have always done what is right by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans. The 4G team will do the same.” – Mr Heng Swee Keat, PAP’s 1st Assistant Secretary-General
he fourth-generation leadership team needs the support of all Singaporeans to build our future together, as they cannot do it alone, said the PAP’s 1st Assistant Secretary-General, Mr Heng Swee Keat. “Singaporeans must trust us and partner with us,” he said. “This will not come easy, because there will be those without constructive ideas, whose aim is to rile people up, create mistrust, and mislead them into making the wrong choices,” he said at the Convention. Mr Heng, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, cited the
2011 general election as an example, when the PAP lost Aljunied GRC. Describing it as a “watershed” election for the PAP, he recalled there was anger on the ground and the political mood remained tense, even months after the polls. The DPM, who was among the 2011 batch of PAP candidates and was learning the ropes as a new MP then, said the team knew they had to work hard to regain the trust of the people. A number of fresh initiatives were ơǤ was the “Our Singapore Conversation” to listen to citizens from all walks
“Singaporeans will judge us not simply by what we say during the campaign period. They will look at what we have done over the last five years. They will look at our legacy over the last 65 years.” – Mr Heng Swee Keat, PAP’s 1st Assistant Secretary-General 8
of life. Within the PAP, it renewed its organisation, membership and communications. ǯ Ƥ few years further convinced him that Singapore’s future depended on the people and the Government working even closer together than before. “We want to put partnerships with Singaporeans front and centre. We want to bring everyone together, expand our common space, and harness our diversity as a strength,” he said. “Working with you, for you – this is our commitment to Singaporeans.” This is also why he launched the “Singapore Together” movement in June, to engage more people, get their feedback and take in new ideas. The committee is also exploring new ways to tap on the expertise and passion of citizens, said Mr Heng. He stressed the 4G team is committed to working with Singaporeans and is also ready to win their trust. “But to earn our privilege to lead, Singaporeans must trust that the members of the PAP, the 4G leadership especially, are men and women of integrity. “We serve for the good of Singapore, and not for ourselves. We will always uphold and defend the high standards of integrity and trust that have underpinned Singapore’s success,” he said.
Four activists share their aspirations for Singapore Trust, giving back to society and ensuring no one is left behind are the main themes of their speeches at this year's Convention
Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah
Kawal Pal Singh
erving in the opposition Aljunied GRC means the barometer of trust towards the PAP is at a lower level, said Mr Alex Yeo, chairman of Paya Lebar Branch. The answer to rebuild and regain that trust lies in not so much about what can be done, but rather how the activists go about their work, pointed out Mr Yeo. For instance, just like all the other constituencies in Singapore, the PAP team in Paya Lebar has put in place various social assistance schemes to help needy residents. “But we raised the money on our own for the programme because we want to ensure that we can buy fresh groceries monthly that are chosen to suit the needs of our residents based on feedback from them.” By delivering them personally to the beneficiaries’ doorsteps, the volunteers can check in on the families at home to see if other assistance is required. “We go the extra mile to listen and help with a personal touch because we want to build a community that not only lives, works and plays together, but cares for one another, together,” he said. Mr Yeo expressed hope that PAP will increase the barometer of trust with Aljunied GRC and Hougang residents -- and give “us the chance to represent and serve them again.”
47, businesswoman ingaporeans should take personal responsibility to secure Singapore together and the Party must deepen the trust that has been built by the pioneers over the years, said Ms Rachel Ong, who serves Telok Blangah Branch. “The safest people to be in relationship with are those who are trustworthy,” she said. “A trustworthy person is one who is credible, reliable, safe to be with, and has low self-interest.” Ms Ong recalled how a business owner in Shanghai shared a phrase that struck a chord with her – “Trust makes everything simple”. She noted that people become suspicious of one another in the absence of trust. The key to securing relationships for the long haul is to deepen that trust by choosing not to give in, not to give up, but to give one’s best to others, said Ms Ong. She praised the resilient party activists who have been helping residents faithfully and with good cheer for the last 65 years.
41, senior lecturer, Polytechnic
n order for Singapore to continue to grow, it is important to ensure the fruits of progress are fairly distributed and the effects of social stratification minimised. Making this point was Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, an activist from the Pasir Ris East Branch, who believes that education is the key to getting it done. “It is the key to uphold social mobility because that is how we can allow people who have less, or did less well, to move up and prevent the society from being stratified,” said Dr Wan Rizal. As Singapore continues to grow, he stressed the need to give every citizen – and not just the privileged few – opportunities to move upwards. He shared how he was from the Normal (Academic) stream and earned a diploma in electronics. At the age of 31, he earned his first degree and now has a doctorate. Dr Wan Rizal, a father of three, said that the education system is on the right track. “Our emphasis on values and early childhood education, and the de-emphasis on grades are key foundations,” he said. Adult learners, too, should not be left out. He called for greater workplace flexibility and making sure there are enough courses to upskill them and fuel their passion for learning.
s a student in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Mr Kawal Pal Singh felt isolated and segregated from his peers because of the stigma surrounding the school at that time. However, as it turned out, his time spent at ITE transformed his life, as he enjoyed going to classes because of the positive vibes from his teachers. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in ITE. I was grateful to not only graduate with a certificate, but also took home valuable life lessons. Slowly, my mindset started to change for the better,” said Mr Singh, an activist serving at Kembangan-Chai Chee Branch. With strong support from his employers and the drive to improve himself, he eventually went on to earn a law degree from a UK university and is now a partner in a local law firm, practicing law in the Singapore courts. Mr Singh’s wish is to see local universities accept former ITE graduates as mature students for full-time degree programmes, taking into consideration their work experience and skills, not just their grades. “We must not leave anyone behind and certainly not leave anyone feeling isolated.”
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (seated centre), together with Speaker of Parliament Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (second from left), Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo (second from right) and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development, Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (right) at Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre on Nov 24, 2019.
4G leadership engages with Singaporeans Through the new Ministerial Community Walkabout format, the 4G leadership is actively engaging with fellow Singaporeans to better understand their concerns ƥ engaging and getting feedback from Singaporeans through various engagement opportunities. One of them is the Ministerial Community Walkabouts (MCWs) where members of the 4G leadership visit ơ across Singapore. The MCW was launched in July 2018 and by the end of this year, the 4G team would have completed 58 such walkabouts. PAP’s 1st Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng
Swee Keat said these visits have enabled both PAP leaders and residents to not only get to know each other better, but also for the 4G leaders to understand their concerns. These visits, which are done almost every week, will continue in the year ahead. In his latest visit on Nov 24, 2019, Mr Heng visited the Geylang Serai wet market and food centre. The visit was hosted by Speaker of Parliament Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, who leads Marine Parade GRC. Mr Heng was accompanied by Minister for Manpower and Second
ơǡ Teo; and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Education, Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.
The MCW was launched in July 2018 and by the end of this year, the 4G team would have completed 58 such walkabouts.
From left: Minister Mr Chan Chun Sing, DPM Mr Heng Swee Keat and Mr Lim Swee Say at a Bedok South market visit on July 27, 2019. Mr Lim is an MP of East Coast GRC.
Minister Ms Grace Fu (fifth from left) hosting Minister Mr Lawrence Wong (sixth from left) and Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat (fourth from left) during a visit to her Yuhua constituency on Oct 20, 2019.
At Beo Crescent Market & Food Centre, Jalan Besar GRC MPs, Senior Minister of State Heng Chee How (first from left), Ms Denise Phua (sixth from left) and Dr Lily Neo (seventh from left) introduced Minister Mrs Josephine Teo (second from right) and Senior Parliamentary Secretary Ms Low Yen Ling (first from right) to their residents during the Ministerial Community Walkabout on Oct 20, 2019.
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Barisan 4G bakal pimpin Singapura Setiausaha Agung PAP, Encik Lee Hsien Loong berkata, pilihan raya umum mendatang akan meraut masa depan Singapura dan menyeru rakyat agar menyokong pasukan 4G.
epimpinan generasi keempat telah mula dibentuk sejak beberapa tahun lalu, dan mereka tahu apa yang diharapkan daripada mereka dan apa yang harus dilakukan, kata Setiausaha Agung PAP, Encik Lee Hsien Loong, yang juga Perdana Menteri negara ini. “Mereka memikul tanggungjawab yang berat, dan mereka layak mendapat sokongan kita semua - daripada yang lebih tua mahupun yang muda. Sokongilah mereka, kerana mereka pasukan kita, pasukan Singapura," katanya kepada 2,500 penggiat Parti dan wakil daripada Pergerakan Buruh, di Konvensyen dan Penganugerahan PAP65 yang bertemakan "Bersama Memajukan Singapura". Ia diadakan di Singapore Expo pada 10 November 2019. Melihat kepada ketidaktentuan yang nyata sekarang, Encik Lee berkata taruhan yang dihadapi adalah cukup besar sedang PAP membuat persiapan
bagi menghadapi satu "pertarungan getir" di pilihan raya mendatang. Encik Lee menekankan bahawa sedang Parti meraih banyak pencapaian, masih banyak lagi yang perlu dilakukan. Paling genting sekali, beliau memberi amaran bahawa "kita boleh hadapi kehilangan yang besar jika politik bertukar menjadi tidak stabil atau gagal berfungsi." â€œPilihan raya akan datang adalah tentang masa depan Singapura," katanya. "Kita mesti menyakinkan rakyat Singapura bahawa PAP terus menjuarai kepentingan mereka, dan PAP akan terus bekerja bersama mereka, untuk mereka, dan memajukan Singapura ke arah masa depan yang lebih cerah." Encik Lee menggesa PAP untuk bekerja lebih keras berbanding parti-parti politik lainnya agar rakyat terus yakin dengan mereka. Beliau menyenaraikan tiga keutamaan â€“ mengekalkan keyakinan terhadap Parti, memberi rakyat harapan terhadap masa depan dan memastikan kesepaduan dan keutuhan masyarakat Singapura. Naib Setiausaha Agung Pertama, Encik Heng Swee Keat pula berkata, barisan kepimpinan generasi keempat memerlukan sokongan seluruh rakyat Singapura bagi membangunkan masa depan bersama-sama, kerana mereka tidak mampu melakukannya bersendirian. â€œKami ingin mengutamakan hubungan dengan rakyat Singapura.. Kami ingin membawa semua orang untuk meluaskan ruang kita bersama.," katanya. "Bekerja bersama anda, untuk anda â€“ ini adalah iltizam kami untuk rakyat Singapura."
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A salute to our activists A total of 402 awards were presented to activists at this yearโs PAP65 Awards and Convention held on Nov 10, 2019. They were honoured for their dedication and contributions to the Party. Old Guard leader and PAPโs first Organising Secretary, Ong Pang Boon was conferred the Distinguished Service Medal.
Distinguished Service Medal
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PAP Secretary-General Lee Hsien Loong (right) presents the Distinguished Service Medal to Comrade Ong Pang Boon (centre), Party Chairman Gan Kim Yong (left) was also on stage to honour him. Comrade Ong's first contested general election was in 1972, as the PAP candidate for Telok Ayer. In 1968, he won in the same constituency uncontested. See inset photo.
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Comrades Yeo and Ong share a hearty moment with PM Lee at the PAP65 Awards and Convention.
the tongkang or bumboat business whose livelihood depended on the Singapore River. A patriot who had felt deeply for an independent and multi-racial Singapore, Comrade Ong was the person who mooted the idea of reciting the pledge in the schools to nurture national consciousness and patriotism. The Distinguished Service Medal Ƥ stalwarts. The past recipients were Mr Lim Boon Heng in 2018, Mr Ch’ng Jit Koon and Dr Yeo Ning Hong in 2001 and Mr S Rajaratnam and Mr Lim Kim San in 1990. Former Member of Parliament Comrade Yeo Toon Chia and political ƥ ǦǦ were conferred the Meritorious Service Star Award and Meritorious Service Medal respectively for their outstanding service to the Party.
Meritorious Service Star Award for Comrade Yeo Toon Chia ƪ Party for the past 56 years, Comrade Yeo Toon Chia is still going strong after his retirement from active politics in 1996. Comrade Yeo, 78, continues to serve as Second Advisor to Teck Ghee grassroots organisations, mentoring
Comrade Yeo Toon Chia (left) continues to serve the Party and Singaporeans diligently after his retirement from active politics in 1996. Comrade Yeo represented PAP in the then Ang Mo Kio single ward in the Dec 1976 GE. See inset photo.
and providing his insights to the volunteers. He began his political journey as the Branch Secretary for Thomson and was elected as Member of Parliament for Kampong Kapor from 1968 to 1976. In 1977, he moved over to the newly formed Ang Mo Kio, then a single ward constituency, where he and volunteers laid out plans for the new town. By 1991, Ang Mo Kio had grown bigger to become a Group Representation Constituency. The citation for his award said: “As chairman of Ang Mo Kio Town Council, Comrade Yeo would contribute ideas to better its development and ensure that the facilities and amenities were well suited for its residents. Indeed, Comrade ǯ ơ to foster a social and vibrant Ang Mo Kio community.’’
ǣǲǯƪ a set of enduring values that he holds ǣ ǡƪ empathy.” He often urge residents to participate in community development and encourage them to help those who are less fortunate.
Meritorious Service Medal for Comrade Yu-Foo Yee Shoon Spanning a political career of 27 years, Comrade Yu-Foo Yee Shoon served six terms in Parliament representing Yuhua and later on, Bukit Timah constituency.
Meritorious Service Medal
Comrade Yu-Foo Yee Shoon (left) joined politics in 1984 when she was among the three female candidates who contested that year’s GE. She won the Yuhua single ward and went on to be one of the longest-serving women politicians in Singapore. See inset photo.
She was among the three female candidates who contested and won in ͥͤ͝͠ ǡƤ woman appointed as Mayor for Bukit Timah Community Development Council in 2001. Comrade Yu-Foo, 69, enjoyed an illustrious career with the Labour Movement, rising from the rank of senior industrial relations ƥ Ǧ General of the National Trades Union Congress. She was appointed Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in 1999 and subsequently in 2004, promoted as Minister of State for the same ministry. Upon her retirement form politics, Comrade Yu-Foo continues to remain active in the community, contributing her expertise and time to various groups, and especially women. For her exemplary role, she was inducted into Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Meritorious Service Star Petir speaks to five awardees who serve at grassroots. To find out more, turn to next page.
BY CHARMAINE CHOO
Ong Soh Ha PBM, 83 Award Category: Dedicated Service Star Branch: Telok Blangah Role: Assist in organising events and activities
Dedicated Service Star
A K Latchumanan, 69 Award Category: Long Service Medal, Gold Branch: Moulmein-Cairnhill Role: Internal auditor
“I learned to give because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing.” Long Service Medal, Gold
HAPPY TO HELP Mr Ong Soh Ha has spent more than half a decade involved in grassroots activities in Telok Blangah. He started volunteering in the 1950s in the People’s Defence Force, and has held many positions such as the vice-chairman of the Telok Blangah Community Centre Management Committee, and assistant secretary of the PAP Telok Blangah Branch.
residents is something I really enjoy, so I like to help and be active in the events my branch organises. Over the years, I’ve also made many friends in the area where I volunteer. Have you inspired anyone else to volunteer? I encouraged my group of friends to volunteer and we ended up organising events together.
Why do you volunteer? I wanted to become a volunteer to support the Government under the PAP. It makes me happy to have worked with many MPs since 1966. What motivates you? Engaging with
“I do it because I support Singapore. The Government built up our country – the buildings, the roads and infrastructure – and I wanted to help as a Singaporean.”
BELIEF IN THE PARTY
in the Civil Service and was advised not to get involved in politics, but I stayed firm in my beliefs. What motivates you? I believe in Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s philosophies, in giving equal opportunity to all Singaporeans. I was unable to further my education, but I supported my siblings and they are now all graduates with successful careers. What do you enjoy most from volunteering? I enjoy interacting with residents and understanding the struggles they face. When I see them looking down, I try to motivate them by drawing on my own life experiences.
Being part of the Merdeka generation, Mr A K Latchumanan has seen Singapore’s transformation from Third World into a First World country over the decades. The transformation and improvement in Singaporeans’ lives have reaffirmed his steadfast commitment to the Party, where he has been volunteering for the last 25 years. Why do you volunteer? I actually joined the Party as a youth with the encouragement of my father who was a party supporter. Later, I started work
Comrades, all on board. From left, Mr Kenneth Yeo, Mr A K Latchumanan, Mr Fauzan Siraj and Mr Ong Soh Ha.
Melissa Tan PBM, 41 Award Category: Long Service Medal, Silver Branch: Hong Kah North Role: Chairwoman of Women’s Wing, Hong Kah North Branch
FINDING HAPPINESS WITHIN THE PARTY Businesswoman and mother of three, Ms Melissa Tan finds time to volunteer for the Party, despite her packed schedule. After 17 years of it, she still derives happiness when helping at her branch. Why do you volunteer? I enjoy interacting with residents, and the camaraderie with other members. The Party is also where I met my husband. We became friends over house visits, and romance blossomed. Most memorable incident? Once, I helped a couple gain legal guardianship over their grandchildren so that they could continue to receive aid from their schools. We went beyond their initial request, and helped secure free health check-ups, CHAS cards and grocery vouchers for the couple. Have you inspired anyone else to volunteer? A friend, a new mother at that time, started volunteering after I introduced her to the Party. She now has three kids and is a grassroots leader. That’s how far she has come!
Long Service Medal, Silver
“I enjoy doing this, and it’s a commitment I have made, so I have to find time for it.”
Fauzan Siraj, 52 Award Category: Long Service Medal, Bronze Branch: Toa Payoh East-Novena Role: Assistant secretary of Toa Payoh East-Novena Branch
PAYING IT BACK Two decades ago, IT lecturer Mr Fauzan Siraj was given the opportunity to further his studies overseas on scholarship. Now he volunteers at his branch as a way to pay back society. What do you enjoy most from volunteering? I appreciate the laughter and joy when volunteers get together, be it for some makan or after Meet-the-People sessions. Spending time with them, while making sure residents are taken care of, is very rewarding. Have you inspired anyone else to volunteer? I encourage my three children, aged 25, 21, and 20, to help with branch activities so that they can have a taste of what volunteer work is all about, and appreciate what we have as a country. Do you have any thoughts to share? Something I always tell new volunteers is that they should volunteer purely with sincerity from their hearts, without expectation of reward.
Long Service Medal, Bronze
“The way I see it, the work is never done. There will always be new issues and it’s up to us to keep going so that residents don’t lose hope. It makes us human.”
Kenneth Yeo, 27 Award Category: Youth Medal Branch: Nee Soon Central Role: Nee Soon Young PAP Regional Chairperson, and Secretary of 8th PAP Policy Forum
RESPONSIBILITY TO COUNTRY Although a youthful 27, Mr Yeo has already chalked up more than 10 years of volunteering experience with various organisations. The research analyst has been volunteering at his branch for six years. Why do you volunteer? Volunteering has long been part of my lifestyle. I believe that every effort, big or small, counts in making a positive difference. Most memorable incident? In 2016, I helped a resident to appeal to the HDB to buy a flat with her disabled son. HDB rejected her request, as she was not legally divorced. I reopened the case in 2017, and after much consultation with stakeholders, she eventually purchased a HDB unit in 2018. What motivates you? It boils down to purpose, and social support. The belief in the impact of the work that I do keeps me going. I also feel the relationships I have built within the Party are not transactional.
“I share with the youths in my branch that there aren’t any benefits in being a PAP member; there's only responsibility to country.” DEC 2019
Striving together for the future Singapore T his year marks Singapore’s Bicentennial since the country’s founding in 1819. And while the ƪ ͜͜͞Ǧ and how it has shaped the Singapore of today, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong laid out three key priorities for the Singapore of the future – enabling every young person to succeed in life no matter their background; supporting adults to work longer as people are living longer; and protecting the country from the threat of climate change. “This Bicentennial year, as we commemorate our history and progress,
we also commit ourselves to improve on what we have, and build a better Singapore for our children,” he said. “All this depends on Singaporeans remaining one united people, and having an honest and capable Government working together with you, for you, for Singapore.” Here are the plans Mr Lee laid out at the National Day Rally to ensure that Singapore will always be a vibrant and thriving city with good opportunities for everyone. The Rally was held on August ͤ͝ǡͥ͜͞͝ Education College Central.
NATIONAL DAY RALLY WHEN August 18, 2019 WHERE Institute of Technical Education College Central
“Climate change may seem abstract and distant for many of us. But it is one of the gravest challenges facing humankind… We must make this effort. Otherwise one day, our children and grandchildren will be ashamed of what our generation did not do.” - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
OUR YOUNG CHILDREN A BETTER HEADSTART IN LIFE 01GIVING • Doubled full-day pre-school capacity to 180,000, enough for every child aged three and above. • Set up MOE Kindergartens with better curriculum which raises industry standards. • Better trained pre-school teachers from National Institute of Early Childhood Development. • Enhanced pre-school subsidies to benefit 30,000 more households by raising the eligibility household income ceiling to $12,000 per month, from $7,500.
• KidSTART programme, which gives extra help to 1,000 children from less privileged families over the last three years, to be extended to reach another 5,000 children over the next three years.
GIVING OUR YOUNG ADULTS A LEG-UP IN LIFE • Annual tuition fees for full-time degree programmes in the Singapore Institute of Technology and the Singapore University of Social Sciences to be lowered from the current $8,000 to $7,500 a year. • Government bursaries for university courses raised from the current 50 per cent to up to 75 per cent of the fees. • Government bursaries for polytechnic diploma programmes increased from up to 80 per cent to 95 per cent of the course fees.
OUR OLDER WORKERS WORK LONGER 03HELPING • Raise CPF contribution rates for workers above the age of 55 from 2021 until a time when those aged 60 and below will enjoy the full CPF contribution rates as younger workers. • Retirement age will be raised from the current 62 to 63 in 2022; and raised further to 65 by 2030. • Re-employment age to go up from the current 67 to 68 in 2022 and eventually to 70 by 2030.
• The Government will help businesses adjust to these new CPF contribution rates as well retirement and re-employment ages. Details will be announced in Budget 2020. • No change to CPF withdrawal policies or withdrawal age.
“The next few years will be very demanding. We have to hand over smoothly to a new generation of leaders, and continue to strive to realise our ambitions. My team will work with you to build this jewel of a nation, so that Singapore will always be a vibrant, thriving city where opportunities are open to all, and our children and their children will have a bright future.” - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Being near the equator makes Singapore more at risk when it comes to climate change. Being a low-lying island leaves us especially vulnerable to the dangers posed by rising sea levels. At the National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described protecting the country from climate change as a matter of “life and death”, on the same level of seriousness as national defence. These are the three ways Singapore is tackling climate change:
Defences against climate change a matter of “life and death” 01
BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE ISSUES
Mr Lee posed a “Grand Challenge” to young Singaporeans to come up with innovative ways to deal with the threat of climate change. At the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS), a team of scientists and meteorologists use super-computers to model the weather and do research from records dating back more than a century. CCRS is working closely with counterparts in the region to study in more detail the impact of climate change on the region.
TAKE MEASURES TO MITIGATE THE PROBLEM
A carbon tax introduced last year to curb industrial facilities’ emissions will Ƥǯ reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. Individuals can also help to do more – by reducing waste, reusing and recycling more, and even simple things like ơǤ
ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change brings about changes in our environment such as rising sea levels. Critical infrastructure such as the newest Terminal 5 at Changi Airport and Tuas Port will be built on higher platforms – at At least 5m least 5m above current sea levels. MRT stations are built with elevated entrances to ƪǦ network. Our coastal defences will be shored up with the use of embankments, ơ connecting them with barrages to create a freshwater reservoir. Mr Lee estimated that it would cost about $100 billion over 100 years to protect Singapore against rising sea levels.
CONVERSATION BY WONG SHER MAINE
DR TAN WU MENG Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Trade and Industry; MP for Jurong GRC Age: 44 Family: Wife, and two daughters, aged two and eight Hobbies: Checking out new apps on mobile phone, spending family time by chilling out at home.
Making heartfelt changes Dr Tan Wu Meng talks about the time he cried, his love for technology and where Singaporeans can seek out new economic opportunities
t some point in our lives, something always happens which makes us realise that life is short. For Dr Tan Wu Meng, 44, an oncologist who is now Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry ơ of Trade and Industry, it came when he was a medical houseman in his 20s. And as with many young doctors, he learned life lessons from his patients. ơ cancer which had spread. The patient was terminally ill -- and awaiting the birth of Ƥ Ǥ
“His hope was to live to see his son born. He was very sick, but we really wanted to keep him alive for his baby,” recalled Dr Tan, who spent many years Ƥ public, then private practice, before he became a full-time politician in May 2018. Dr Tan recalls with perfect clarity. “One day, his wife went into labour. The next day, he held the baby. And the following day, he died.” Ǧǡ ơ received thank you notes in the mail which the patient had written before he passed on, with photos he had taken with
them. “I cried,” said Dr Tan. “I think a lot of us cried.” The numerous life-and-death moments he has witnessed, caring for cancer patients, have shaped Dr Tan’s life philosophy which explains and directs how he lives his own life. “You learn very quickly that life is very short and unpredictable. In whatever time you have, you want to do your best to help people. And where possible, no matter how busy you are, make sure the kids get a cuddle or a big hug each day,” said the father of two girls aged two and eight. DEC 2019
From doctor to MP As much as he loved his work in medicine, Dr Tan became a full-time politician, where he continues to do his ǤƤ a grassroots volunteer in 2004 after he was inspired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s rallying call for young people to help in the community. After becoming elected Organising Secretary of the Young PAP in 2008 — he Ƥ — he rose through the ranks to become an MP in Jurong GRC in 2015. Before he became an MP, he actively wrote columns on a diverse range of newspapers, on issues like social cohesion and how to build up resilience in society. “It’s a sense of duty,” said Dr Tan, on why he ultimately left medicine entirely ͤ͜͞͝ ơ
“Before he became an MP, he actively wrote columns on a diverse range of subjects which were published in the newspapers, on issues like social cohesion and how to build up resilience in society.”
Dr Tan at a Hari Raya gathering with his residents in Clementi in July 2019. He meets a couple with a new family member, a baby boy. Two years ago at a similar gathering, Dr Tan also met the baby boy's older sister (centre).
and Industry. “I do miss spending time with my patients, but you could say that in some ways, looking after the Clementi residents is a bit like looking after patients.” One of his proudest moments as a politician stemmed from a cause that is close to his heart. Throughout his medical career, he had learned about children who were born with very rare diseases, such as Pompe Disease, Gaucher Disease, bile acid synthesis disorder, whose parents had to bear with huge medical bills with no cure in sight. “There's a gap in the insurance market, because a commercial private insurer is not going to cover a child for serious illness that the child is born with at Day One,” he pointed out. ǲơ
run the entire gamut, but each one is incredibly rare, which means the drug companies don't see any economies of scale which would bring the price per unit of medicine down.”
ͤ͜͞͝ǡƤ motion in Parliament championing children with rare diseases. An the opportunity to speak for up to 20 minutes on an issue, allowing the MP to share more insights beyond asking a Parliamentary Question. In his speech then, Dr Tan said: “We do not choose our parents, we do not choose our genes. And so we must ensure society — for children born healthy, as well as children born with rare diseases.” With the support of Health Minister, Mr Gan Kim Yong and Senior Ministers of State, Mr Chee Hong Tat and Mr Edwin Tong, the Ministry of Health set up a Rare Disease Fund which was launched in July 2019. Unlike other charity funds which run on one-to-one matching donations from the Government, for every private donation of $1 to the Rare Disease Fund, the Government contributes $3, to boost its impact. “I’m very happy to be one of the many people who helped make it happen, it's a ơǡǳǤ
Dr Tan celebrates Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, with his residents.
A PASSION FOR TECH
ne of the recent projects Dr Tan most enjoyed was a price-comparison app called Price Kaki with the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), which was launched in September 2019. It compiles the prices of various essential items – including types of hawker food and goods found in supermarkets – across different shops. Users can, say, locate the supermarket with the cheapest eggs in their vicinity. It is currently only applicable to shops in the Toa Payoh, Tampines and Jurong West areas, but the app will be launched nationwide in 2020. “I was very happy to work on this app with CASE, because I’m a bit of a gadget geek. I like
tech stuff!” said Dr Tan, who enthusiastically whipped out his mobile phone to demonstrate where the cheapest kaya toast in Toa Payoh could be found. He is also a fan of science fiction, particularly by American author Isaac Asimov. He draws on science fiction in his parliamentary questions and speeches. During a parliamentary sitting in 2018, Dr Tan asked if the Government was studying “aspirational principles” like Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics in regulating new technologies like artificial intelligence. Said Dr Tan: “These may seem far-fetched questions, but it is useful to imagine many possible futures, so that we are just that little bit more ready when the future arrives.”
Singapore’s low birth rate may also affect its competitiveness in the long run, if steps are not taken to boost productivity so that the young people of tomorrow can do more. This comes down to re-designing jobs and deploying
technology. “We can retool our economy to make us less dependent on manpower,” pointed out Dr Tan, who observed there are many lessons to be drawn from the Japanese who are also grappling with an ageing population. “For example, in the medical industry, if you are a nurse lifting a patient up, a hoist can be used so even a 60-year-old nurse can do the job. As far as possible, we want to make sure that jobs are open to people of all ages,” he said.
or young Singaporeans, the usual coveted overseas postings are in the US, Europe, and in recent years, China. But Dr Tan Wu Meng's advice is: if you’re looking at an overseas posting, think about ASEAN countries too. He said, “All around us in ASEAN, there’s an amazing economic story that's unfolding. It has a 650-million strong population, of whom nearly two thirds are under the age of 35. Just imagine the demographic dividend, the urbanisation dividend, the economic growth story in ASEAN.” Plugging into that wealth of opportunity could be as simple as requesting for, or accepting, an overseas posting to an ASEAN country. “There's also the spirit of venturing, not being afraid to try something new,” he added. And these personal experiences and business networks add value
to one’s workplace, and can help grow career prospects and horizons. The spirit of adventure is critical given that Singapore has historically thrived because of its global connections. “Small countries don't have any intrinsic right to exist. We have to be relevant to the world to survive,” pointed out Dr Tan. Challenges which confront Singapore include trade conflicts, like the current US-Sino trade war which has affected the global economy. Some countries have also shifted toward a more protectionist stance. Comparing large countries to elephants, he said: “In a world where the elephants may be jostling, you want to make sure you are relevant to these elephants, so that it is less likely that the elephants may accidentally step on you.”
BRANCHING OUT BY JANE NG
MPS anytime, anywhere Residents have more ways to reach their MP beyond the regular MPS
hen Fengshan Member of Parliament, Ms Cheryl Chan noticed that queues at her weekly Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS) stretched late into the night two years ago, she decided to make things easier for her residents by bringing MPS to their doorstep. Instead of queueing at Blk 119, Bedok North Road where the MPS is held on Mondays, these days, the elderly or less mobile residents may get a visit from their MP or her team of volunteers. Said Ms Chan: “Some residents were tired from queueing for several hours,
long after registration closed at 9.30pm. So we made the process more convenient ȅ by going to them.” With the digitalisation of MPS at around the same time, the process was made easy as registration and data collection of cases were done online. Volunteers bring along a tablet during house visits and key in pertinent information on-the-spot. If there is a need to contact various agencies, follow ups or draft emails, it would be done thereafter. Ms Chan observed that while there are many ways to contact the MP these days, either through online messaging or email,
there are residents who may not have access to Internet, may not be tech savvy or who prefer to talk to her in person. There are also residents who do shift work and may not be free on Monday evenings, when the MPS is held.
Another touch point The mobile MPS serves as another means for residents to reach out to her and vice versa, or what she described as “one extra touch point”. “At the end of the day, MPS is just one avenue to seek help. As we move forward, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to just that
LEFT Fengshan MP Ms Cheryl Chan engages with residents during her weekly Meet-thePeople Session at Block 119, Bedok North Road.
one day,” she pointed out. In fact, residents are now so comfortable speaking to her outside of the Monday MPS that when she holds breakfast events on Sundays, some of them would bring their letters and concerns and discuss with her. So for her, MPS happens “anytime and anywhere”. Mobile MPS is a concept that is also taking place at several branches islandwide, including Bukit Batok and Siglap. Since 2014, volunteers from Siglap
branch have been actively engaging with its elderly residents who are not mobile. They handle an average of one case a month. Mr Jake Tan, vice-chairman of the branch’s Young PAP, said such a “service” is needed as there is otherwise no way for some of the elderly to make their way to the weekly MPS. In Bukit Batok, the mobile MPS concept started in 2016 as a means to build a more inclusive community in the ward. Volunteers work with community partners such as Family Service Centres and Residents’ Committees, which will refer the elderly with mobility issues who need help to the branch volunteers. When visiting the residents, the volunteers will also arrange for a video call with the branch chairman for added ǡƥ that the team is sent by the branch. Through the video call, the resident is able to connect directly with the branch chairman, said branch secretary, Mr Leow Boon Swee.
“Some residents were tired from queueing for several hours, long after registration closed at 9.30pm. So we made the process more convenient -- by going to them.” - Ms Cheryl Chan, Fengshan MP RIGHT & ABOVE The weekly MPS is complemented with mobile MPS - or home visits for residents who are less mobile, by volunteers. From left: Mrs Stella Oh, Madam Chong Lee Chin, Ms Adeline Teo and Ms Diana Pang.
Ms Chan with Fengshan's core team of volunteers including (from left): Mr Stanley Oh, Ms Diana Pang, Madam Chong Lee Chin and Mr David Tan.
“With the visits, residents know that they are part of the Fengshan family, and we’re here to help every single person who lives here.” - Ms Diana Pang, one of the core volunteers
In Fengshan, mobile MPS is also used to track cases of residents who were at the weekly MPS. There are four core volunteers on Fengshan’s mobile MPS team. Armed with a list of people who need help, either from the MP or branch secretary, they knock on the doors of these residents. They also do cold-calls in addition to follow-up cases and have covered some 70 ƪǤ Such visits are useful to sift out residents who do need help, but for various reasons, have refused to approach the MP or go to MPS. Said Ms Chan: “Sometimes, residents may not visit MPS because of pride or personality. But during house visits, while chatting, certain issues may surface and then we will discuss how we can ǤǡƤƥ express their problems in public spaces and may be more comfortable speaking in their own home.” Home visits are useful for another reason: volunteers can assess the home environment of residents who ask for Ƥ ǡ value what they say.
“There are some who ask for cash vouchers. But we would like to give them holistic help. At times, they may Ƥ and grab bars. We support through our Community Development & Welfare Ƥǡǳ Ms Chan. Ms Diana Pang, 45, director of an Ƥ volunteers, said such visits are time-consuming but she feels a sense of satisfaction with each case that they manage to help. “We have been able to reach out and help more people. In a way, every case we get is one extra person helped because some of them will never turn up at MPS,” said Ms Pang, who is also the branch treasurer and the Women’s Wing Fengshan branch chairman. “With the visits, residents know that they are part of the Fengshan family, and we’re here to help every single person who lives here,” she said.
LUNCH WITH A PURPOSE
uring house visits, volunteers found a group of lonely or less mobile seniors in Fengshan. The active ageing committee keeps tabs on these residents and invites them to a bi-weekly seniors’ luncheon to keep them active socially and physically. The luncheon was started in 2016 for seniors who are lonely and vulnerable to network, to get to know other people, and also for volunteers to know their health condition. The community has grown, starting with 20 elderly to the 70 who attend regularly these days. Apart from lunch, there is entertainment and short interesting activities, for instance, picking up exercises that they can do at home. Besides an afternoon of fun and networking, these luncheons are also channels of information about other residents who may need help.
Fengshan volunteers celebrate the birthday of a centenarian resident at a Sunday luncheon in July 2019.
LEFT Students from neighbourhood schools in Fengshan are also involved in the seniors’ luncheon.
PAP SENIORS GROUP
Singapore's treasures: A celebration of life and a handbook An event to launch the first-ever handbook of government policies relating to the seniors was a joyous celebration of life in the golden years hen I turn 55, how much money can I withdraw from my CPF account? PAP activists who are asked this question and more by senior Singaporeans often have to check government websites for answers. Now, they can turn to a nifty handbook - with tabs divided into CPF ǡƤ ǡ healthcare – topics which the elderly are most concerned with, for answers. At the launch of the “PAP.SG Ambassador Handbook” by the PAP Seniors Group (PAP.SG) on October 13, 2019, about 420 PAP.SG members gathered for an afternoon of good food, music and companionship. The event was also held in conjunction with the International Day of Older Persons.
National treasures Beyond the handbook, the big picture message from guest-of-honour, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat and PAP.SG Chairman Mr Tan Chuan-Jin was this: Life beyond the 50s can count as the best part of our life, and the elderly have much to contribute. Referring to the seniors, Mr Heng said: “Singapore is very rich. We have many (treasures).” In Singapore today, there are over 500,000 Singaporeans above the age of 65, comprising 15 per cent of the population.
Mr Tan, who is also the Speaker of Parliament, said that Singapore is well-placed to transform ageing into something its people can look forward to. “Preparing a society for successful ageing requires long-term planning. Long-term planning is exactly what we do well in Singapore,” he pointed out.
PAP Seniors Group’s impact The handbook was a product of the PAP.SG’s work, led by PAP.SG Exco member Dr Thang Leng Leng. With regular quarterly meetings which have doubled in size since 2013, PAP.SG submitted a position paper titled “Empowering us to live with Purpose and Dignity in our Senior Years” to the Government in January 2019. This was followed by a parliamentary debate in February 2019 on ageing with purpose. According to Mr Heng, suggestions in the position paper resulted in the
Petir caught up with one of the many old guards who attended the launch of the handbook.
“I still go to work every day! I'm a medical doctor and my clinic is in Boon Lay. Even though I retired from politics in 1984, the people in my constituency still keep in touch with me and every time there is an election, I still get involved with the new candidates. My advice to anyone would be: Don't ever think of retiring, keep busy!” -Dr Chau Sik Ting,79 Thomson MP (1980–1984)
building of purpose-built senior housing like the Yew Tee Integrated Development, and the raising of CPF contribution rates for older workers beyond the age of 55. Said Mr Tan: “Let’s make Singapore to be one of the best places in the world for seniors.”
PAP.SG Chairman Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (in blue) and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat (centre in pink), with former and existing MPs at the launch of PAP.SG Ambassador Handbook to mark International Day of Older Persons on Oct 13, 2019.
PAP POLICY FORUM BY JANE NG
Singaporeans will always come first Measures are in place to protect jobs for Singaporeans he People’s Action Party will always ǯƤǡ it in the workplace or community, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu. This is even as Singapore navigates an era where its existing and future labour force might not be able to meet the full demands of a changing economy. Ms Fu spoke about “Immigration in Nation Building” at the PAP Policy Forum which was attended by about 80 activists. It was held at the PAP headquarters on Sept 7, 2019. Addressing the activists, Ms Fu acknowledged Singaporeans’ concerns on whether jobs currently held by locals will be replaced by foreigners. She said the stark reality is that Singapore is experiencing falling birth rates and an ageing population. By 2030, approximately 263,000 workers in the workforce will be retiring, with only about 190,000 workers to replace them without immigration. The Ǧơ ǡ
shrinking from 6.7 working adults supporting one elderly person in 2008, to an estimated 2.4 by 2030. Such a reduction will result in a slowdown of the economy if nothing is done. ǡơ through immigration is necessary, even as we increase our support for marriage and parenthood, explained Ms Fu. That said, the Government is keeping an eye on the number of foreign workers. In fact, the total foreign workforce has stabilised and has come down somewhat in the recent years, she added. “Singaporean employment is of primary importance – we are not here to create jobs for foreigners. But in order to Ǧơ ǡ we need foreigners to supplement our Singaporean workforce,” she said. The Minister assured her audience that strategies are in place to ensure that Singaporeans are protected, for instance, by controlling the ease with which companies are able to apply for
CHALLENGES AHEAD IN 2008
Old-age support ratio
workers in the workforce will be retiring by 2030
workers as replacement without immigration
working adults supporting one elderly person
Old-age support ratio
working adults supporting one elderly person
employment passes for foreign workers. Singapore, she said, must continue to attract investments from multi-national corporations. “As a small market, we need to be pro-business. We are not price-setters; we are price-takers,” she said. “The foreign companies come here and use Singapore as a hub to produce for and supply to the region. But as a result of their presence in Singapore, we create more jobs for our workforce.”
Important for foreigners to assimilate The number of Singapore citizenships and Permanent Residency status granted has declined since 2008 because of more stringent criteria that includes the likelihood of assimilation, said Ms Fu, who is also chairman of the National Integration Council which drives ơ and ground-up manner through public, people and private (3P) partnerships. Another way to ensure good assimilation is through the awarding of scholarships to outstanding foreign students, said Ms Fu, responding to a question from Mr Sam Chee Yee, the assistant branch secretary of TampinesChangkat Branch. The 52-year-old businessman asked if subsidising top foreign students is part of the Government’s immigration policy. Ms Fu replied that encouraging them to study in the local education system is one way to get them to better understand the Singapore culture and way of life. She acknowledged that scholarships are given to the cream of the crop. “If you are a soccer team manager, you have to get the best players you can attract,” she said. “There is strength in diversity. The better we are in integrating ourselves with foreigners, the bigger we can grow our pie,” pointed out Ms Fu.
PAP POLICY FORUM
Helping workers to be ready for jobs of the future NTUC Secretary-General maps out innovations to help workers or the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to remain relevant with an evolving Singapore workforce, it has to innovate in three key areas, said the Labour Chief Mr Ng Chee Meng. Speaking at the NTUC National Delegates’ Conference on Oct 15, 2019, Mr Ng, NTUC Secretary-General who is also ǯƥ ǡ laid out three areas for the Labour Movement to strengthen, in order to grow its membership to 1.5 million by 2030, from the current estimated 950,000 members. First, NTUC is trying out new union business models such as representing ǦǦƤ (professionals, managers and executives) together. It is also exploring digital unions, where interaction between the union and workers are done virtually. For instance, digital unions could be set up
to complement traditional brick-andmortar unions. Mr Ng also proposed setting up a “work security taskforce” to protect workers at the pre-retrenchment phase. Such a taskforce could work Ǧơ solutions to reduce the window between retrenchment and placement, thereby reducing workers’ anxiety. Second, NTUC is looking at expanding the membership model to include a family membership to better meet ǯơ stages of their life. Family members Ƥ NTUC provides – childcare services by My First Skool, ageing assistance by ǡơ NTUC Foodfare or Kopitiam chains of food court, and groceries from NTUC
FairPrice. Third, NTUC will do more to train ǤƤ and data, it plans to push learning ơ to spur workers to sign up. Mr Ng said: “If we can reach Union 4.0, NTUC 4.0, with new digital capabilities, we can create value for new workers in Singapore and be the partner in this very important strategic direction to train workers for their success and for the economy’s relevance.”
“Always be nimble and respond to changing situations” Three days after the NTUC National Delegates’ Conference, Mr Ng joined 100 Ƥ a dialogue organised by the PAP Policy ǲ͠Ǥ͜Ȃ ǦƤ workforce”. The activists asked Mr Ng a wide range DEC 2019
PAP POLICY FORUM of questions relating to how Singapore’s workforce – the country’s only resource – could continue to remain relevant in a disruptive environment. ͥ͝Ƥ ǡ Ng shared that this was being done at two levels – in schools where formal education is being transformed so that our children grow up with the necessary mindset to meet the challenges of the future workplace; and at the lifelong learning level, where adult workers are encouraged to continuously learn and upskill themselves through SkillsFuture.
“We do our best to plan ahead, but we have to always be nimble and respond to changing situations.” - Mr Ng Chee Meng, NTUC Secretary-General
On this note, he urged individuals to narrow the gap between belief and action. He said that the Government focuses on three areas to ensure Singapore’s future workforce thrives – the economy is competitive and doing well; help companies to be successful; which then leads to workers having good wages and work prospects. When asked by an activist how the Government can future-proof workers when nobody can tell what the future looks like, Mr Ng said: “We do our best to plan ahead, but we have to always be nimble and respond to changing situations.” He also urged workers to take more personal responsibility to futureproof their skills at all times. “Even in success, we must remember that we are vulnerable.”
DPM HENG URGES ACTIVISTS TO ACT he People Action Party’s 1st Assistant Secretary-General, Mr Heng Swee Keat told more than 300 party activists that the Party’s leadership will continue to grow the “reservoir of trust” built over the years with Singaporeans and urged activists to do the same. Mr Heng, who is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, also called on activists to turn their thoughts into action. “While each act of contribution may seem small, the cumulative impact of your actions can make a big difference, which can significantly shape our society,” he said in his address on July 24, 2019 to mark the PAP Policy Forum’s 15th anniversary which had the theme “Together for Tomorrow”. The PAP Policy Forum was set up in 2004 for activists to be more involved in policy-making by sharing views from the ground with policymakers to help shape policies that benefit Singaporeans. Mr Heng urged activists to ACT – Take Action, Communicate and Team Up. By staying close to the ground, activists can better understand different groups of Singaporeans. “By taking action to give back to society, better communicating our policies, and encouraging
Singaporeans to work as a team to build our nation, you will help to build trust – build trust with the Government and build trust with our people,” he said. “This bond of trust has been hard earned over the years, but can easily be lost if we ever become careless or complacent. This is especially so in today’s uncertain and volatile world, where a wave of disillusionment is
sweeping across many mature societies.” Adding that the PAP must not just work for Singaporeans, but also work better with Singaporeans, Mr Heng said: “By understanding our people with empathy, by understanding the intent and approach of our policies, you can better reach out to all Singaporeans to explain our policies and what we stand for.”
DPM Heng celebrates PPF’s 15th anniversary. From left: Chua Wei-Shan (PPF15 organising co-chair), Chay Yiowmin (Vice Chairperson), Amrin Amin (2nd Adviser to PPF), DPM Heng (PAP 1st Assistant SecretaryGeneral), Lawrence Wong (1st Adviser to PPF), Theodora Lai (Chairperson), Jude Tan (Vice Chairperson), Edmund Sim (PPF15 organising co-chair).
Learning first-hand how to write policy paper Young activists draft mock White Paper on plastic waste reduction bout 30 young activists from the Young PAP (YP) and Young NTUC were put through the paces of policy-making over one weekend in November. The participants in the two-day workshop during Nov 2 and 3, tackled Ƥ Ȃ change. They were tasked with putting together a mock White Paper on how plastic waste can be better managed in Singapore. A White Paper is an authoritative report that discusses a complex issue in a concise manner, and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. Singapore has designated 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, with plastic waste highlighted as a key concern. Singapore uses about 1.76 billion plastic items a year, with less than 1 in 5 of these being recycled. YP Chairman, Dr Janil Puthucheary, who is also Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and ǡ ơǡ which he laid out the broad principles of policy-making and the considerations that go into it. MP for Nee Soon GRC, Mr Henry Kwek, also shared about the rigours of parliamentary procedures he has Ƥ as a member of the Government
Singapore has designated 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, with plastic waste highlighted as a key concern.
Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry. He urged the workshop participants to challenge the status quo on climate change and explained why plastic waste is a growing focus in the whole equation. He also suggested that the young should approach the issue of plastic waste in a way that their cause is understandable and relatable by all and not just among the young. They would need the buy-in of all age groups in society to make any ơ Ǥ Ƥ by the United Nations as being one of the most pressing issues facing the world. Global emissions are reaching record levels and the last four years were the hottest on record since global temperature records began, with the impact felt all across the globe.
Nuts and bolts of a White Paper During the workshop, the participants were divided into teams, each ơ
in the climate change debate. They were guided by organising committee members who were last year’s workshop participants. They deliberated and Ƥ went into the mock White Paper. YP activist Ng Wee Hoe, 30, who attended the session, said it was an eye opener for him to learn about the complexities of policy-making. ǲơǯ concerns and viewpoints and see how everyone could compromise to reach an agreement in the end,” he said. Mr Ng, who has been with YP for Ƥǡǣǲ discussions, I realised that there were a lot of things that I didn’t see about the issue even though I thought that I had read up enough to get the whole picture.” The mock paper will be reviewed by the YP and there are plans to submit it to the party leadership. The YP also plans to organise a similar workshop in 2020 on climate change, with de-carbonisation as the focus. DEC 2019
WOMEN'S WING BY KHUSHWANT SINGH
PAP’s policy of meritocracy is a great equaliser for women Support for women’s rights reflects Party’s commitment to building a society of equal opportunities
DPM Heng said that when he and his wife were starting a family, they had to figure out the best way to be there for each other and for the children. He recalled: “A favourite activity, which my children still remember, is spending the hours before bedtime at the playground near our house. It was usually 9 or 10 pm when we finished work, but the half to one hour of fun at the playground was always the highlight of the day for the kids. We are glad that we did this. Today, as adults, they still remember these night outings fondly.”
omen in Singapore have made Ƥ ǯ longstanding support for them has contributed to their progress. Speaking at the PAP Women’s Wing annual conference, Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat said: “The PAP’s policy of meritocracy has been a great equaliser for women as it opened the doors to equal education and equal opportunity." ǲơ between us and many other countries which stuck to the traditional divisions of the role of men and women.” Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, was guest of honour at the conference on Sept 14, 2019. In his keynote speech, he praised the Women’s Wing (WW) for playing a key role in the advancement of women in Singapore by “advocating for change to better support Singaporean women, and breaking down
barriers so that women can participate more fully in our society”. He noted that in 1989, when the PAP WW was founded, there were only four female MPs in Parliament. There are now 20 female MPs, including eight political ƥ ǡ ƥ held by a woman, President Halimah Yacob. While much progress has been made, the DPM said more women are needed in leadership positions in the political arena, and private or public spheres as well as more women entrepreneurs. He noted that in the private sector, only nine per cent of Singapore businesses have a female CEO, lagging behind Asean economies which average 21 per cent. He would also like to see women in Singapore continue to have meaningful work, while having the support to start a family, take care of their parents, or
have other pursuits. “Meaningful work enables our women to achieve their full potential, and contribute fully to ǦǤ Ƥ relationships at home bring joy to all around us. To achieve this, we must have more inclusive workplaces, and a more supportive family environment,” pointed out DPM Heng. In her speech, Minister of Manpower ơǡ Mrs Josephine Teo said that cultivating family-friendly workplaces takes more than government policies as it requires support from employers and mutual understanding from co-workers. Mrs Teo, who chairs the WW, also Ƥ more women in every successive election. “With so many more outstanding women who are willing to give of themselves to help Singapore advance, I'm very hopeful,” she added.
PAP Secretary-General Mr Lee Hsien Loong says the next general election is about Singapore's future and calls on SIngaporeans to support the...
Published on Dec 31, 2019
PAP Secretary-General Mr Lee Hsien Loong says the next general election is about Singapore's future and calls on SIngaporeans to support the...