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     Previous FrontPage Edition 9 Aug 2005

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Prime Minister's National Day Message 2005



Last month, the International Olympic Committee met in Singa­pore, to choose the city for the 2012 Olympic Games.  Eventually London won.  For a few days, under the international spotlight, Singa­pore played the gracious host.  We did well, and must do even better on future occasions, for example next year, when the IMF and World Bank hold their meetings here.  This is part of our transformation into a leading city, a first class environment for talent and enterprise, and a home for Singa­poreans of all races and faiths.

Economic growth is the best social welfare programme.  Prosperity provides us the resources to tackle many difficult challenges.  One challenge is the widening income gap.  We cannot reverse this worldwide trend, but we can help lower income Singa­poreans to keep up and find new opportunities.  We are training them in useful skills, re-designing their jobs to pay better, educating their children well, and helping them with their utilities and transport bills.  And we have the ComCare fund, which helps the needy to get back quickly on their feet again.

A second challenge is our aging population.  Singa­poreans must keep active, stay healthy and work for as long as possible, so that as they age they can enjoy financial security, afford good medical care, and live more fulfilling lives.  Senior citizens are valued members of our society, and we must tap their collective experience and wisdom.  

Third, we must continue to look after the health of all Singaporeans, young and old.  I know many of you worry about your medical expenses.  But our healthcare system delivers a high standard of care for all.  We will strive to make healthcare services more affordable for all income groups.  But you must do your part too, to look after yourself and keep fit and healthy, because staying well is the best way to keep medical costs down.

These are hard issues with no quick and easy solutions.  But we will learn from the experience of other countries and avoid their mistakes, and I believe that we can manage these challenges.

Looking ahead, the signs are favourable.  Asia is prospering, and our neighbours in ASEAN are doing well.  We are doing the right things, investing in our people and gearing up to live in a different world.  I expect the next five years to be better than the last five.  Therefore I am confident that working together, we will make Singa­pore grow and prosper beyond what we have today.  

On this 40th anniversary of our independence, I wish all Singa­poreans a happy National Day.  Let us dedicate ourselves anew, as one united people, to securing this bright and enduring future for Singapore.

Source: Media Release 8 Aug 2005



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