More good jobs and better life for all Singaporeans: Heng

DPM's broadcast message speaks of upping efforts to transform, grow economy


SINGAPORE under the People's Action Party (PAP) in the next five years will see efforts stepped up to transform and grow the economy to make it more innovative and resilient, the party said on Thursday night in the first of two political broadcasts made available to the contenders of this General Election, which is called under restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Painting a picture of what Singapore will be like and what the government will do that will affect and benefit business interests if the PAP is re-elected, first assistant secretary general Heng Swee Keat said: "We must deepen our links with the world, work with like-minded partners to keep trade flowing and enable more of our businesses, including SMEs, to expand beyond our shores."

At home the government will work with businesses to promote new growth areas, said Mr Heng, who is also Deputy Prime Minister.

All these efforts are ultimately aimed at providing more good jobs and a better life for all Singaporeans, with none left out.

"To make sure that no Singaporean will be left to walk alone, we will continue to build a more fair and just society," Mr Heng said.

Safety nets will be improved, he said. Investments in education will be continued to develop the young, with those in greater needs given special support. Seniors will get better support, provided especially by a stronger healthcare system geared to an ageing population, to retire comfortably.

"Taken together with our additional support for education, this will relieve pressure on 'sandwiched' Singaporeans who are caring for both their children as well as their parents," Mr Heng said.

He said the government will continue to build not just a better but also a "greener, more connected and more liveable" home for Singaporeans. Beyond now, the government has already put in place bold plans for Singaporeans to live sustainably, as well as to protect Singapore against climate change and the rising sea.

But for plans to become reality, Mr Heng said the people and government must forge strong partnerships.

He said the PAP is up to the task. Its leadership team is tested and proven: "PM Lee and the older ministers have seen Singapore through many previous crises. Together with the 4G leaders, we have a leadership team that is ready to take on whatever lies ahead."

While the government has brought the number of new Covid-19 cases down and kept fatalities low, Mr Heng said the battle against the virus is far from over. "We face severe challenges, not just over the next few months, but for many years to come."

The urgent priority over the next few years is to protect lives and save jobs, according to him. The government has spent close to S$100 billion into this effort, but he said Singapore must continue to invest in new capabilities that can help it emerge stronger after the crisis recedes.

Mr Heng said this election will be tough because Singaporeans have been hit hard by the pandemic - and they are anxious about their future. He said the PAP will fight hard to deserve their votes, "for every vote represents a hope for the future".

Mr Heng, who is in line to be the next prime minister if elected, called for strong support so that the government can continue to work with and serve Singaporeans - to secure lives, jobs and Singapore's future.