Download Complete Speech in Acrobat Format (356 kb)
Table of Contents
139. Mr Speaker, Sir, let me now conclude. Members of the House have voiced strong support for the Budget - both the restructuring of the economy so as to improve productivity and raise wages of Singaporeans, as well as our efforts to build a fair and inclusive society.
140. But as Mr Seah Kian Peng and Dr Lam Pin Min have pointed out, building an inclusive society will always be work-in-progress.
141. We do not claim to have a perfect system. But we are not doing badly:
- Median Singaporean incomes have risen faster in the last 5 years than in any of our peers in Asia – the NIEs or Japan, or any of the developed countries
- Our unemployment rates are the lowest in Asia and certainly the lowest amongst the developed countries.
- Social mobility through education remains higher than in most other countries, certainly in most of the developed countries.
- Home ownership remains amongst the highest in the world, and in particular home ownership amongst our lower income group is without equal internationally;
- We are still rated AAA by S&P and Moody’s - a diminishing breed.
142. But as Members have pointed out, none of what we aim to achieve is about government policies alone.
143. As Mr Desmond Lee pointed out very eloquently yesterday evening, none of these measures we are taking will automatically foster a society where people care for one another or for the less fortunate.
144. Dr Amy Khor and Mr Laurence Lien had emphasised that we have got to involve everyone, tap on every group, as everyone has something unique to offer to Singapore, something unique to offer others.
145. As Dr Lam Pin Min and Ms Tin Pei Ling have said, we have got to do more to build a resilient society; we are not quite there yet. We have got to do more to build pride and dignity in every job, no matter how humble.
146. As Mr Seng Han Thong had said, we’ve got to make sure that all the Singaporeans like Bao Pings get the support that they need to live long and enjoy their lives.
147. As Ms Irene Ng pointed out yesterday, we’ve got to preserve a state of self-reliance. And as Dr Lim Wee Kiak pointed out, preserve a sense of filial piety and responsibility to the family that are also at risk of being lost over time.
148. And as Ms Janice Koh pointed out, building an inclusive society is also the role of Singaporeans – like our local artists, who help us to define what we are as Singaporeans, even as we become a global city.
149. So, it’s about all of us, what we do daily, what we think of doing more of each year, what we will do with our fellow citizens to continue our journey towards being an inclusive society.