DPM Teo Chee Hean at the Pasir Ris West Chinese New Year Dinner 2017
我国回教社群拒绝极端主义。每位 回教宗教师也将接受认证。其他社群可以看到回教社群的努力。我们应该支持他们， 和大家一起维护我国多元宗族，多元宗教的社会。
政府也继续帮助年轻家庭拥有组屋，结婚生子，建立美好的家园。今年，我们将完成白沙中小贩熟食中心的翻新工程。各区也会在 “邻区更新计划” 下进行翻新。
“A United and Caring Community”
Fellow Members of Parliament,
Residents of Pasir Ris,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Lunar New Year is a festive occasion for families to gather and celebrate. I wish everyone good luck and best wishes for the Year of the Rooster.
Tonight, I would like to speak to you about four issues: our regional and international environment, the terrorist threat, our economy and jobs, and our community.
Regional and International Environment
First, our regional and international environment. Governments in the US and Europe have turned inwards and adopted populist measures to address the concerns of their citizens. It will take some time for the new US administration’s policies in several key areas to become clearer. In our own region, we can all see that China’s economic and military strength has grown. We could also feel the heat here when countries in our neighbourhood hold their elections. We could therefore face more uncertainties in our external environment.
In the midst of these uncertainties, we should remain guided by a basic set of principles which has worked well for us since independence, passed down to us by Mr Lee. Namely a commitment to promote an open and connected world, support for international law and international institutions, and mutual respect between countries as we conduct our foreign relations.
An open and connected world has provided all countries the opportunity for peaceful development and growth. Greater understanding and inter-dependence between countries through greater trade and investment flows and people-to-people exchanges are likely to result in more cooperation and less conflict between countries. Indeed, this has been our experience with a united ASEAN where all countries in our region thrive and progress together. Therefore, we support the Trans-Pacific Partnership as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as pathways to an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, not because we support one group of countries or another, but because we support an open environment conducive to trade and investment.
As a small country, international law and support for international institutions such as the UN is absolutely critical. It provides small countries like Singapore a predictable basis for conducting relations with other countries, and for settling disputes, especially with larger countries, in a peaceful, fair and consistent way. We abide by the rulings for cases taken to international adjudication whether we win or lose.
We should also conduct our foreign relations based on mutual respect. We have always stood by this principle whether we are conducting relations with countries, like the US or China, or with our neighbours, Malaysia or Indonesia, all of whom are bigger than we are. I welcome President Xi Jinping’s remarks at Davos recently that “countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equal members of the international community”. Standing by this principle allows every country to maintain our independence and sovereignty, and conduct our relations with other countries in the spirit of mutual respect.
Understanding what our national interests are, and remaining steadfast to our principles, are the best guides for how we build relationships of friendship, trust and mutual respect with all countries, big or small. Importantly, when we conduct ourselves in a principled way, it also allows Singapore and Singaporeans to hold our heads up in the world, rather than bending to the will of others.
Second, the terrorism threat is at its highest level since 9/11. Last weekend, a French-Canadian student shot Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec, Canada. Closer to home, there were three attacks in Indonesia and the first IS-related attack in Kuala Lumpur last year. The arrest of an ISIS-linked group who were planning to launch a rocket at Marina Bay from Batam has shown that attacks on Singapore can be planned from beyond our shores. There is also the risk of foreign terrorist fighters returning to Southeast Asia and carrying out more attacks here.
Should terrorists succeed in an attack, our security forces and agencies will react quickly to neutralise the threat. Any terror attack seeks to take lives, strike fear and divide societies. The most serious damage from such an attack is if we allow ourselves to be divided, one community blaming or becoming suspicious of another. Instead, all communities should unite to fight against those who preach extremism, exclusivism and violence to divide us. We must therefore focus on the commonalities that unite us, and not allow differences to be exploited to divide us.
Our Muslim community rejects extremism and is taking active steps to counter radical religious ideology. For instance, the hotline and website by the Religious Rehabilitation Group started by our Muslim religious leaders and teachers will help counter the wrong teachings spread by extremists. All religious teachers will have to be certified under the Asatizah Recognition scheme. Our communities can see the efforts of our Muslim community. We should support them and together with others, uphold Singapore’s multi-racial, multi-religious society.
Economy and Jobs
Third, on the economy and jobs. Last year, manufacturing activities picked up in the final quarter. Based on advance estimates, Singapore’s GDP grew at 1.8% in 2016. This year, we expect economic growth to be between 1 to 3 %.
Technological change and globalisation are transforming our work places and our economy. The Government understands the challenges faced by businesses and Singaporeans in adapting to these changes. We will assist our companies to be more productive, develop new products and find new markets.
Everyone will have to adapt to these changes and learn new skills. It is not an easy journey, especially for our older workers or those who have been in the same job or industry for many years. You will have partners in this journey - the Government and our unions, SkillsFuture Singapore, Workforce Singapore , e2i - the Employment and Employability Institute.
We have introduced SkillsFuture to help Singaporeans adapt to new work opportunities and attain new skills. Under the S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme, the Government, companies, unions and trade associations will co-develop roadmaps for 23 industries covering 80% of our GDP. These roadmaps will help companies to move to higher value-added activities and equip our workers with skills to support the shift.
The Committee on the Future Economy will release its report in the coming weeks. We will continue to work closely with our businessmen and companies to improve productivity and seize new economic opportunities.
A United and Caring Community
Fourth, on building a united and caring community. The Government will work closely with Singaporeans to create a better future, and help families take good care of our seniors and raise children.
We have strengthened our social support system. Medishield Life and more flexible CPF Life will provide more assurance to Singaporeans. The Silver Support Scheme will provide financial support to seniors who had low incomes through their lifetime and have little or no family support. CHAS, Medisave Top-ups and the Pioneer Generation package will also provide support for our seniors.
The Government will continue to support marriage and parenthood. And help young couples own their own homes and have children.
Here in Pasir Ris West, we will continue to make improvements. Our residents can enjoy good food at the new Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre which will be ready soon. We have started the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme for selected zones in Pasir Ris Streets 51, 52, Drive 1 and Elias Road. We are engaging our residents in the design, and residents can look forward to improvements such as new covered drop-off points and linkways, Residents’ Corners, and fitness corners. All the zones in Pasir Ris West will benefit from the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme in the coming years.
We will face a number of challenges in the coming year. But I am confident that building on our solid foundation, and our social harmony and unity, we will overcome these challenges together and forge ahead to a brighter future. Let us work together for a better home and a caring community for ourselves and our children.
Happy New Year!
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