DPM Heng Swee Keat at the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital Gala Dinner 2023

DPM Heng Swee Keat | 5 November 2023

Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital gala dinner 2023 on 5 November 2023.


Mr Wong Kan Seng, Patron of Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital

Mr Tang Kin Fei, Chairman of Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital

Mr Patrick Lee, Honorary Chairman of Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital

Cabinet and Parliamentary colleagues

Ladies and gentlemen,

A very good evening. I’m delighted to join you to celebrate Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital’s 113th anniversary, as well as to appreciate the many donors, whose generosity has enabled the good work that Kwong Wai Shiu has been doing. As a centenarian organisation, Kwong Wai Shiu is rooted by a heritage of care and service to the community, and always seeks to build on that foundation to contribute meaningfully and serve even better.

When I attended your charity concert event in 2018, Kwong Wai Shiu was only operating two facilities, and the redevelopment of your main site into an integrated community hub was nearly complete. Then-Chairman Mr Patrick Lee announced that Kwong Wai Shiu would be expanding its services to six sites. Five years on, you have hit all your milestones, and set new ones. I am happy to hear Chairman Kin Fei announce your intention to increase your nursing home capacity and operate more care centres and Active Ageing Centres within the community over the next 10 years.

Over generations, Kwong Wai Shiu has played the important role of caring for those in need. As Singapore becomes a “super aged” society, we will need to address the care needs of our seniors. This is why we have mapped out under our AgeWell SG initiative, strategies such as keeping our seniors healthy for longer, and providing more seamless care within the community to enable seniors to age well in place. Even as the government steps up support, we will need to deepen our partnership with the community to prepare for and care better for our seniors.

I am happy to see how Kwong Wai Shiu has contributed to this by building up a strong suite of community care services within the Kallang-Whampoa area, and extending it further to Potong Pasir and MacPherson. Your two nursing homes give dignity and care to frail seniors, and peace of mind to their families. Your three Active Ageing Centres enable seniors to remain connected and engaged, so that they can age joyfully and purposefully within their community. In fact, you even signed a MOU with the Council for Third Age, to adopt Geragogy guidelines that can better support seniors in their learning. This way, we can all live by the adage “活到老学到老”! Coupled with other services like rehabilitation, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Senior Care Centres, and community and home healthcare, Kwong Wai Shiu is well-positioned to play a leading role in these regions, providing seamless, person-centric care as seniors’ needs change.

Beyond caring for our seniors, I’m heartened to see that Kwong Wai Shiu is leaning forward on other fronts. For example, you have consistently pursued innovation and technological solutions to ease staff workload. You were one of the first nursing homes to utilise rotary woks to prepare food in large quantities, and autonomous robots to ferry the food to the wards. Your commitment to upskill your staff won you the SkillsFuture Employer Award in 2022. Your Community Training Institute offers some 110 different courses spanning clinical and non-clinical areas, which have benefitted 4,500 participants, including staff from the broader community care sector. So it is no surprise that Kwong Wai Shiu has been appointed the first SkillsFuture Queen Bee in the community care sector. With your extensive experience in training and upskilling, you will be able to offer good mentorship and guidance to the rest of the sector.

As Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, I have been urging all the different industries to transform under the Industry Transformation Maps. So, it is wonderful to see how Kwong Wai Shiu has been transforming and also helping many others to transform. Congratulations on your achievements!

Now, I spoke about how Kwong Wai Shiu has steadily stepped up in terms of care and contribution – to seniors and to the sector. This is powered by a third, and arguably the most important C – Community. All of you here this evening are part of this crucial supportive community. And that has enabled Kwong Wai Shiu to care for seniors better and contributing to the care sector. So I would like to commend and thank the many donors here today, for your generosity and unwavering support to ensure that the cost of care remains affordable for the seniors that Kwong Wai Shiu serves. So thank you all very much.

And within this Kwong Wai Shiu community, I must specially acknowledge and commend the leadership team for steering Kwong Wai Shiu through its transformation. In particular, I would like to applaud Mr Patrick Lee for his 22 years of tremendous leadership and contributions on the Board, including 12 years at the helm as Chairman. Earlier, Chairman Kin Fei set out the details of what Patrick has done over the many years. Patrick, who is highly respected in the business world, has applied that same energy and dedication to growing Kwong Wai Shiu. He is always thinking about how Kwong Wai Shiu could grow its impact and serve more people, while maintaining its charitable roots. And indeed under Patrick’s leadership, Kwong Wai Shiu has transformed, hit new milestones, and established standards for the community care sector.

So, please join me in thanking Patrick for his 22 years of distinguished service on the Board, as well as his continued contributions as Honorary Chairman, Board Adviser, and Chairman of the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital Foundation! You have built up a strong Board that has helped Kwong Wai Shiu deepen its capabilities, expand its reach, and serve more seniors. I am confident that under Kin Fei’s Chairmanship, Kwong Wai Shiu will continue to rally your community of donors, upskill your workforce, and grow the sector’s capabilities. And in so doing, you will strengthen your legacy of care and service.

Thank you and have an enjoyable evening ahead.