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National Day Rally 2016 – A Quick Summary

August 22, 2016


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stepped onto the podium at ITE College Central to deliver the 2016 National Day Rally.

Before we get to what he said, we would first like to say Kudos to PM Lee, who suddenly felt unwell during the speech and had to stop halfway.
He later recovered in great form and went back on stage to continue delivering his speech.


How Do We Progress Together?

  • The defining challenge we will face in our economy is disruption (I.e. The use of technology to disrupt older business models) old models are not working new models are coming thick and fast and we have to keep up

    “Old models are not working, new models are coming thick and fast, and we’re having to adjust and to keep up, because of technology and globalisation. And the disruption will happen over and over again, relentlessly,”

  • In Singapore we have 2 options, prevent disruption and stick to the old ways or embrace change.
  • Government will help incumbents to adapt to changes and update rules to foster fair competition
  • Singapore has a role as a regional hub for financing and transport and logistics, in the growing e-commerce space, alongside digital analytics and digital marketing


Help Build Capabilities in our Economy

  • We must build new capabilities with a focus on the ICT sector, the fact that most Singaporeans are IT Savvy Singapore will help us grow in this area
  • In other areas we must also hold our own, such as in engineering the government will provide support to build these capabailities


Build Entrepreneurship

  • We need more entreprenurs in Singapore, not just because of the business they may bring but also because they are resourceful, optimistic and daring, we need to foster that mindset, We need people to believe, if we fail we try again and if we keep on trying one day we will succeed

    “Entrepreneurs play an important role – not just because they’re doing business for themselves and doing well, and creating jobs and prosperity, but also because they are resourceful and optimistic, they give our society the confidence that anything is possible.”

Build New Skills

  • We need a more skilled workforce to enable Singaporeans to earn better and hold better jobs
  • Skillsfuture is crucial to help equip working adults with new skills and , more pathways to upgrade ourselves in our jobs have been and will be made available
  • The government will continue to help people with transition between industries, there is help available, programs like professional conversion program that train you and help you to move into a new industry, such as the CSP Career support program, that helps company subsidize pay for a time.


Singapore’s Ties With China and the US

  • We are friends with both America and China and it is easiest for us when they’re both on good terms with each other.
  • Major issue currently is the South China Sea dispute which is a complex issue especially since Singapore is currently the China-ASEAN country co-ordinator and ASEAN countries are a part of the dispute
  • Although Singapore has no claim in this dispute and we don’t take sides, there is a lot at stake for Singapore, in particular we have 3 interests
    • The upholding of international law because this is how we settle our issues on the global stage as a small country.

      “We cannot have international relations work on the basis that might is right, if the rules don’t matter then Singapore has no chance for survival”

    • Freedom of navigation and overflight, especially since our role as a maritime port relies on ships that traverse the south china sea
    • Presenting a united ASEAN, as individual countries, we do not count as much, but together with a collective population of 600 million, ASEAN can make their voice heard much better, we must deal with big issues properly or no one will take ASEAN seriously.


Singapore’s Ties With Malaysia and Indonesia

  • Singapore’s relations with both Malaysia and Indonesia are good but our relationships with them are sensitive and complex because of deep seated attitudes towards us

    “It’s an abang (big brother) attitude towards us. It has not changed since we became independent,”

  • We want to work with Indonesia to solve the haze problem and they want to encourage us to invest in them
  • An urgent issue for co-operation is terrorism, where we are seeing more lone wolf attacks, where attackers, plan by themselves and attack by themselves. These lone wolfs are harder to spot since the execution is by a Single person.



  • Terrorism is taken seriously, because there are terrorist cells in other countries aiming at Singapore
  • Government has stepped up patrols, raised protection for major events and have at times shifted and rescheduled events because of these threats.
  • A dozen Singaporeans have been arrested over the last year or two, some listen to extremists’ radio stations, surf these websites, several tried to go to middle-east to join ISIS.

    “Singaporeans are not uniquely immune to jihadist propaganda. We have arrested a dozen Singaporeans… most were self-radicalised.”

  • There is a steady trickle of such people, about one or two a month
  • Dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Singapore

    “If the terrorists come from abroad, it may be easier for us to stand together,”

    • If it’s a Singaporean, our multi-racial culture may suffer a great strain
  • We must all do our part for security and our national interests. To Stand together before and after an attack.


Racial Harmony

“Imagine if only the Chinese wished each other at Chinese New Year, only Muslims could say Selamat Hari Raya to one another, only Hindus exchanged Deepavali greetings, and only Christians said Merry Christmas?…. It would be a very different, and a very troubled Singapore”

  • One big plus we have is that our religious and community leaders refute extremist views, and lead by examples, guide their flocks to stand together. Understand that ours is a multi-racial society, every community must be together, we cannot treat each other as infidels, discourage interactions. Muslim leaders have been vigilant in this context.
  • All religions in Singapore must act with tolerance, give and take, respectful and warm. It has to be so here and it has been so here. Exclusive and intolerant practices in Singapore will cause serious problems, if foreign preachers act this way, they will be banned from coming in.
  • MUIS and Pergas, have been promoting the ARS (ASATIZAH RECOGNITION SCHEME) which is scheme to enhance the standing of religious teachers, the government would like to make this mandatory


How we make sure we have good politics in SG?

” People must feel that this is theirs. Then the system can work.”

  • Raised BREXIT as an example of how important good politics is, where the bigger impact was that social cohesion was weakened voters lost faith in their leaders and politicians. A lot felt that they were not benefiting from globalization, before the vote people made all kinds of promises, but in the morning after found they could not deliver.
  • These are anxieties and pressures built up in Britain and in other countries, it can happen here, unless we make ourselves different.
  • Singapore needs good leaders and politics that work a sound political system and people must feel that this is theirs and they will fight to defend it.


Suggested Changes to Presidency in Singapore

  • Update criteria for someone to be a president – President makes major decisions, on appointments and reserves, that’s why the president is there holding second key, we must make doubly sure that everything works.
  • The criteria for a person to be president should be updated since, the amount of reserves has grown substantially since the inception of the elected presidency in Singapore
  • Minorities must regularly have a chance to be a president – because this is a multiracial society, this is why we are Singapore, this is not a Malay nation, not a Chinese nation, this is everyone’s Singapore. Everybody must be able to identify with the president
  • Give more weight to the advice of the Council of Presidential Advisers


Leadership succession

  • Core team for the next generation is in cabinet at the moment
  • Mr Heng Swee Kiat will resume his duties as Minister Of Finance and DPM Tharman will stop covering for him, a 2nd minister will be appointed to help Minister Heng Swee Kiat, Mr Lawrence wong
  • In next GE, the aim will be to reinforce the current cabinet team, by the following GE the next PM must be ready to take over.


What can Singapore look like in 2030

  • The western part of SG will be transformed, with Lakeside Gateway to become a busy business district, in the north, woodlands regional centre, will be a another hub for business
  • High Speed Rail to Malaysia will shorten travel times
  • More startups will occupy incubators
  • 8/10 homes will be within 10 mins walking distance to train stations and the island will be made more accessible through walking and cycling
  • PSLE Changes will be implemented and hopefully the total fertility rate will grow
  • Terminal 4 and 5 will be up and running with Paya Lebar Air Base moved to the airport
  • PSA port at tanjong pagar and pasir panjang will move to Tuas creating more waterfront space


3 Wishes for Singapore

Someone once asked PM Lee “If God appeared before you and asked you for three things that you would want for Singapore, what would these be?”

He responded as such

“If I ask for material things we will regret it… What I would like to have, is to be blessed with a divine discontent, to be always not quite satisfied with what we have, always driven to do better. Have the wisdom to count our blessings, know how to enjoy and protect it. “

Mr Lee said that if these two wishes were fulfilled, it would be enough for Singaporeans to “keep building something special in Singapore for many more years”.

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Gerry has spent time working in 5 different banks in various capacities, across a range of functions from back to middle and front office. After leaving banking, he spent time working on market research for consumer banking with a focus on the Chinese and Singapore market. He now serves as a home loan consultant and business manager of Easyrates.

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