Efforts enabling Singaporeans to lead active and meaningful lives in their silver years while striving to give the country’s young “the best chances in life” are issues that will guide this year’s Budget.
SINGAPORE: The empowerment of Singaporeans who are in their silver years, and the creation of a brighter future for the young, were issues highlighted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (Feb 15) in this year’s Chinese New Year message.
Mr Lee said in his message that honouring seniors and nurturing the young are not limited to individual families, but are values and attitudes that hold the society together.
“As a people too, we should look after the elderly as we are the beneficiaries of their labours, and care for the young who carry our hopes for the future,” he said.
The prime minister said Singapore’s society is ageing, and the Government is working to enable Singaporeans to lead active and meaningful lives in their silver years, which means creating strong social support and community networks, keeping them socially engaged and building up healthcare systems and services.
For the younger generation, Mr Lee said the Government is striving to give them the best chances in life. He noted that we are fortunate to live in Asia – a “dynamic and fast-growing region” – and as such should prepare ourselves to seize the many economic opportunities around the country.
“We should make full use of new technologies, to progress with our partners and neighbours,” he said.
“We will help our young to uncover their diverse talents, and invest heavily in them through education and training, so that when they grow up they can strike out on their own, build their own families and careers, and fulfil their aspirations and dreams.
Mr Lee said investments will be made to build the city and infrastructure and upgrade the living environment and economy, so that the next generation can continue to create new possibilities, prosper and flourish.
“We should uphold our time-tested Asian values of thrift, self-reliance, and leaving something more for our children, instead of burdening them with their parents’ debts. We must always think beyond the immediate and beyond ourselves, to look and plan over the horizon on behalf of future generations,” he added.
Mr Lee hoped Singaporeans will reflect on these issues in the quieter moments over the festive season, in between celebrating with friends and family – something the Government will also be doing.
He noted that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver his Budget speech on Monday, immediately after the holiday weekend and “these issues will guide the thinking behind the Budget”.
He also made a call for Singaporeans to build their shared future together so generations of Singaporeans can look forward to more prosperous and joyous Chinese New Years.
“As we usher in the year of the Dog, let us be dogged in our efforts to create a better Singapore and a brighter future for our children,” the prime minister said in conclusion.