Minister Indranee Rajah on Addressing the Most Discussed Topics Across the Emerging Stronger Conversations

PMO Ministers | 6 July 2021

Written Answer to Oral Question in Parliament by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah; issued 6 July 2021, on how the Government intends to address the most discussed topics across the Emerging Strong Conversations as of 31 December 2020.


Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Prime Minister how does the Government intend to address the most discussed topics across the Emerging Stronger Conversations as at 31 December 2020 specifically Social Support and National Identity and Shared Values which ranked above Jobs and the Economy and Digitalisation and Technology.

Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister):

The Singapore Together Emerging Stronger Conversations were launched in June 2020, as a platform for Singaporeans to reflect on our COVID-19 experience and our aspirations for a more resilient post-COVID society. These Conversations were convened in the midst of the pandemic, because it was important to hear from one another on how we were affected by the crisis, and how each of us could play a part to help Singapore emerge stronger.

  1. In February this year, the Government published a report to take stock of the Conversations and feedback received from 17,000 Singaporeans from all walks of life.
  1. The report highlighted 15 key themes that were most discussed, including, as Mr Singh highlighted, Social Support, and National Identity and Shared Values. The latter two encompassed issues like protecting our vulnerable, support for giving and volunteerism, and how we might build a more compassionate and cohesive society.
  1. Our focus now is on forging strong and sustained partnerships to turn these shared aspirations into reality.
  1. We have been progressively addressing the themes that have come up in the Conversations, through partnerships such as the Singapore Together Alliances for Action or AfAs, Citizens’ Workgroups, and others. The AfAs bring together Singaporeans across the People, Private and Public Sectors, to work together on solutions to economic and social issues.
  1. To date, 25 AfAs have been announced, including a number relating to enhancing social support and building a more compassionate society. Several of these AfAs are driven by a strong conviction of our shared values, and these values will be manifest in not just the outcomes, but also in the way the initiatives are implemented. Let me highlight a few examples.
    1. First, UPLIFT, which supports disadvantaged students and their families, driven by a shared conviction of ensuring opportunities for all, regardless of their starting points.
      1. The UPLIFT community pilot was launched in 2020, and focused on helping students with emerging absenteeism issues.
      2. It is on track to support more than 300 students by next year,
      3. And more family befrienders are being matched to the families of these children to offer friendship and assistance.
    2. Second, the AfA on Emerging Needs and Volunteerism, which has three focus areas:
      1. Increasing support for mental wellness in the community,
      2. Providing opportunities for seniors to learn innovatively,
      3. Facilitating the matching of donations-in-kind.
      4. The AfA is training volunteers, starting with the Yuhua community, to equip them with skills and knowledge in mental wellness to reach out to residents who may require support.
      5. To support seniors in the current digital age, the AfA is working with partners on opportunities to enable seniors to learn digital skills and integrate the use of technology into their daily life.
      6. The AfA is also partnering the SG Cares Volunteer Centres to better aggregate resources and matching to community needs at the town level.
    3. Third, the AfA for Caregivers of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to support this group by co-creating solutions to the issues they face.
      1. This AfA will build on the Caregiver Action Map developed by SG Enable and its Coalition of Partners for Caregiver Support,
      2. And develop solutions related to self-care and mutual support, to enhance the well-being of caregivers.
  1. Apart from the AfAs, partnerships such as the Citizens’ Workgroup for Singapore Citizenship Journey and the Citizens’ Workgroup for National Symbols saw Singaporeans work with the Government and one another, on ideas to strengthen our national identity and commitment to Singapore and Singaporeans.
  1. These have all been in the spirit of Singapore Together, which is about Singaporeans creating our shared future together. We will continue to grow this ethos, and work with Singaporeans, as we grow our partnerships. The future Singapore we aspire to can only be built through a democracy of deeds, where all of us take action to make a difference.