National Day Rally 2023 (Chinese)

PM Lee Hsien Loong | 20 August 2023

PM Lee Hsien Loong delivered his National Day Rally 2023 speech on 20 August 2023 at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Headquarters. PM spoke in Malay and Chinese, followed by English.

 

For the English translation of the Chinese speech, please scroll down or click here.

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李显龙总理国庆群众大会2023华语演讲

共创更美好的家园和未来

各位同胞,大家晚上好!历经三年的冠病疫情,我们齐心协力,挺过考验。大家的生活也恢复正常了。各个社区也再次举办国庆晚宴,为国家庆生。此外,一些国人已经养成了伤风感冒时,就会自动戴口罩的习惯,继续保护自己,也保护大家。

生活费

虽然我国已经走出疫情,但是地缘政治日渐紧张,经济情况不明朗。 这导致全球价格攀升,造成通货膨胀居高不下。

国人的日常开销继续增加,为了减轻人们的负担,政府分发了不同的补助。去年,我用了一份月历,向大家介绍了一个住在三房式组屋的家庭,能够获得哪些援助。这包括U-Save水电费和杂费回扣,CDC购物券、现金补助、保健储蓄填补等等。政府几乎每个月都有不同的补助,帮助低收入家庭。其他国人也有一些补助,大家应该都陆陆续续收到了。

今年也有一份月历。和去年一样,政府几乎每个月都会给各种补贴。现在是8月了,有现金补助,9月也有补助。10月有U-Save水电费和杂费回扣、11 月财神爷真累了请假,12月有现金补助,加上明年1月又有CDC购物券,让大家可以买年货准备过年。我们兑现了好好照顾人民的承诺。

我们知道今年调高消费税影响了国人,所以我们通过定心与援助配套,帮助大家减轻负担,尤其是中低收入家庭。由于政府去年在一些方面节约开支,有了一点财政盈余,我们决定在今年的财政预算案,加强一些援助措施。其中,额外的CDC购物券,我听说特别受欢迎。很高兴看到这些措施行之有效,让国人受惠。

明年1月1号,消费税将上调到百分之9。我们会按照原先的计划,落实定心与援助配套。我有把握,这些补助能够缓解明年消费税上调后,对国人的影响。不过,大家一定会问:财神爷能不能够“再慷慨”一次。让每个人都能获得多一点援助呢?你们问我,我就问了财政部长黄循财,他说他会去认真研究。我们拭目以待,希望能有好消息。

但是,大家必须谅解,财神爷不一定能有求必应,政府不可能无止境地分发补助。所以,我们也要从根本上解决问题,那就是提高生产力、帮助企业转型和发展经济。这样,国人的实际收入才能持续增加,大家的生活才确实会有所改善。

其实,政府也一直通过各种政策,稳定物品价格。例如,1973年,职总成立了NTUC Welcome超市,也就是今天的职总平价集团。它的使命,就是确保新加坡人能够买到,价格实惠的日常必需品。50 年后的今天,平价集团已经是本地超市的老大哥。它发挥了带头的作用,把物品价格维持在合理的水平,让人民能够继续买到价廉物美的东西。这使到其他超市不得不向它看齐,也提供自家品牌和各种优惠。

要减少生活开销,我们在购物的时候也可以精打细算。很多家庭主妇、 Uncle 和Aunty懂得货比三家,知道东西要到哪一家超市买,要在哪一天买,才最便宜。他们可以,今天去职总平价,明天去昇菘,后天去Giant。一些人很厉害,会用应用程序例如 Price Kaki,或通过一些群聊,查看哪里有最好的 “lobang”。如果你是建国一代、立国一代,或持有蓝色的CHAS卡,星期一到星期五,去不同的超市,天天都有折扣。为了家庭,人们省钱不落人后,要买到最划算的日用品,这样才对得起自己的钱包。所以说,只要大家做一点功课,还是能买到比较便宜的东西。

“56一族”

我知道,有一个群体特别关注生活费的问题。那就是快要退休的工作人士,他们现在大概五十多岁或六十出头。当中有些人,“上有老,下有小,还要担心退休后,钱不够养老”。我明白你们这个夹心层的担忧,你们要照顾年迈的父母。而且,孩子们还在求学,不会那么快毕业。政府所提供的大大小小的补贴,将可以帮助你们应付生活费。不过,你们还是会担心自己日后没有足够储蓄可以养老。这是因为,你们当年的薪水比不上今天的年轻人。而且,你们从国家经济增长所得到的好处,也比年轻人相对来得少。我了解你们的忧虑。政府会协助你们减轻生活负担,并且提供针对性的补助。让你们能够更加从容地面对退休生活。

我会在接下来的英语演讲中,提供更多细节。

健康SG计划

除了帮助年长人士为退休做好准备,我们也必须关心大家的健康。大家上了年纪都多少会出现一些毛病,尤其是如果年轻时没有照顾好身体。就可能有三高,也开始这里痛,那里痛。走不快 、看不清、 耳不灵、 睡不好。人到了晚年,如果身患多病或是病情严重,无法照顾自己,甚至要长期住院,这对自己和家人都是很辛苦的。首先,金钱的负担肯定不少。把辛苦一辈子赚来的钱,花在吃药住院,就得不偿失了。同时,在家里照顾年老的病患,对整家人来说,是身心劳累的事。算来算去、健康还是排第一。

所以,预防胜于治疗。为了让国人能够保持身心活跃,上个月,卫生部就推出了“健康SG计划”(Healthier SG)。我和太太也报名参加了。健康SG是我国医疗保健制度的一个重大改变,政府将把重点转向预防疾病。我们鼓励每个人有一个固定的家庭医生;这样医生除了看病,也可以为你量身定制保健护理计划。同时,这个家庭医生也会定期和你联系,关注你身心的整体状态。

我明白大家的心理,不愿意有事没事就去看医生,有时即使有事也不敢看医生,害怕会听到坏消息 。但是,我希望你们可以改变心态,从现在开始就定期去“看医生”,听他的话,养成积极照顾身体的好习惯。

政府会提供各种津贴减低你们的医药费。推行健康SG计划,卫生部在预防疾病方面的开销将会增加。这是为了让你们老来活得更加健康,长期帮助你减轻医药负担,也希望可以减缓国家医药开支的增长。所以,请你协助我们一起照顾自己的健康,以便有更多的时间和家人共享天伦之乐。我再次呼吁大家报名参加健康SG计划。请牢记:健康是宝 预防最好 你我家人没烦恼。

结语

过去三年,冠病疫情是一场严重危机,我们沉着应战,理智应对,上下一心,共同克服种种难题。

新加坡是最早走出危机的其中一个国家,并且很快就恢复活力。我们的新航再次展翅高飞,樟宜机场人山人海,入境的旅客很多,出国旅游的国人也不少。

投资者看到我们应对疫情的表现,对我们更有信心了。我们吸引了许多新的投资,经济活动也增加了不少。我们这个国际金融中心也更加蓬勃了。我们也成为数一数二的科技研究中心,物流中心和数据中心,巩固了我们作为区域枢纽的地位。

这一切不是偶然的。而是因为我们一直以来都未雨绸缪,做长远的规划,并且政府与人民之间维持互信,紧密合作,把愿景变成事实。

最近发生了几个涉及政治人物的事件,让国人感到不安,甚至怀疑我国的体制是否出了问题。其实,没有体制是十全十美的。至于这些事件是否会让新加坡受到打击,那就取决于我们如何应对。我的团队绝对会全心全力,做到尽善尽美,全力以赴维护新加坡清廉高效的政治体系与信誉。

当年建国总理李光耀先生在面对类似的棘手事件时,都会果断地处理。我也是以同样的态度处理这些事件。我相信我的接班人也会一样。

今年是李光耀先生的百年冥诞,我们在缅怀李先生的同时,也应当铭记他的教诲。李先生最在乎的,是要新加坡人牢牢记得我们赖以生存的硬道理。首先,永远不让腐败的政治在这里出现。同时,维持最高的廉政标准,使新加坡能够一直运行下去。有了这个基础,我们才能实现核心的治国理念 - 人人平等,唯才是用、帮助国人施展才华,精益求精、发展经济,提升大家的生活、建设一个多元种族的和谐社会。

新加坡能有今天的成就,是因为开国领袖的坚持和毅力。所以,让我们继续秉持前辈的建国精神。确保新加坡持续繁荣进步,乘风破浪,勇往直前。

谢谢大家!

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National Day Rally 2023 – Chinese Speech (English Translation)

Good evening, my fellow Singaporeans. Over the last three years, through the pandemic, we stayed united, and overcame challenges. Life has returned to normal. We are organising National Day Dinners once again, to celebrate National Day. Some Singaporeans have developed the good habit of wearing masks when they have a cold or flu, protecting themselves and others.

Cost of Living

But even as we emerge from the pandemic, geopolitical tensions are rising and the international economic situation is uncertain. Prices are soaring globally, resulting in higher inflation.

To reduce the burden of rising costs on Singaporeans, the Government has given out various subsidies. Last year, I used a calendar to show you the support that a Singaporean household living in a 3-room HDB flat would receive. This included U-Save and S&CC rebates, CDC vouchers, cash payouts and Medisave top-ups, amongst others. The Government gave out different subsidies to help low-income families almost every month. Other Singaporeans also received subsidies. Everyone should have received them.

We also have a calendar this year. Like the past year, Government will continue to provide various subsidies almost monthly. In August, we have cash payouts. There are subsidies in September; then U-Save and S&CC rebates in October and cash payouts again in December. In January next year, we will have CDC Vouchers again. In time for everyone to buy goodies for Chinese New Year. We have kept our promise to take care of Singaporeans.

We know that the GST hike this year has affected Singaporeans, so we rolled out the Assurance Package to alleviate the pressure on Singaporeans, especially middle- and lower-income families. Last year, as a result of the Government’s savings, we had a budget surplus. Therefore, in this year’s Budget, we further enhanced these support measures. The extra CDC Vouchers were very popular. I am glad that these measures have been effective and Singaporeans have benefitted from them.

From 1 January next year, we will adjust the GST to 9%. We will continue with the Assurance Package, as planned. I am confident it will be effective in buffering the impact of the adjustment to 9%. But I am sure you are wondering: could we further enhance the Assurance Package. So everyone gets a little more help? You asked me, so I asked Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.He said he will study it carefully. Let’s wait -- and of course, we hope for good news.

However, we must understand the Government cannot give out subsidies infinitely. The long-term solution is to make ourselves more productive, transform our businesses, and grow our economy. Then our real incomes can rise and we can all be better off.

Actually, the Government has been stabilising prices through various policies. In 1973, NTUC established NTUC Welcome, the predecessor of today’s NTUC FairPrice. Its social mission was to ensure that Singaporeans could purchase necessities at affordable prices. Fifty years later, FairPrice is now the largest local supermarket chain. It plays a leading role maintaining costs at a reasonable level, so Singaporeans can continue to buy affordable and good quality goods. As a result, other supermarkets have no choice but to emulate FairPrice by offering their own house brands and promotions.

To reduce daily expenses, we can make smart choices when purchasing daily necessities. Many Singaporeans know how to compare prices. They know which supermarket has the lowest price on which day for which item. They can go to NTUC FairPrice today, Sheng Siong tomorrow and Giant the day after. Some are expert, use mobile applications such as Price Kaki, or access chat groups to decipher where the best “lobangs” (deals) are. If you are from the Pioneer or Merdeka Generation, or hold a blue CHAS card, from Mondays to Fridays, you can go to different supermarkets and enjoy discounts everyday. Many people look out for money-saving hacks, and buy value-for-money necessities to keep their wallets full. So long as we shop wisely, we can still get our hands on cheaper items.

Young Seniors

I know that there is one group that is particularly concerned about the cost of living. They are people who are approaching retirement -- those who are now in their 50s and early 60s. Among them, some have ageing parents as well as children, and they worry if they have sufficient savings for retirement. I understand the concerns of this sandwiched generation. You have to provide for both your aged parents as well as children who may not be graduating so soon. The various subsidies provided by the Government can help you deal with the cost of living. But you may still be worried you do not have sufficient savings for your future retirement. This is because your income when you were younger was not as high as younger Singaporeans today. You also had a shorter runway to benefit from Singapore’s economic growth compared to the younger generation. I understand your concerns. The Government will help alleviate your financial burden and provide targeted assistance. So you can be less anxious about your retirement.

I will elaborate in my English speech later.

Healthier SG

Apart from helping seniors prepare for retirement, we must also care for everyone’s health. All of us will face health issues as we get older, especially if we did not take care of ourselves when we were younger. We may have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and body aches. Or have mobility issues, not be able to see or hear clearly and not sleeping well. In old age, suffering from multiple diseases or serious illnesses will mean you may be unable to take care of yourself. You may even have to be hospitalised for a prolonged period. This can be very difficult for you and your family. Firstly, there would certainly be a significant financial burden. It is not worth your while to spend your hard-earned money on medical expenses. At the same time, caring for aged patients at home is physically and mentally strenuous for the whole family. Whichever way you think about this, remember health comes first.

Therefore, prevention is better than cure. To help Singaporeans maintain their physical and mental well-being, the Ministry of Health launched “Healthier SG” last month. My wife and I have enrolled. Healthier SG is a major change for our healthcare system. The Government is shifting the focus to disease prevention. We encourage everyone to have a regular family doctor. Apart from providing medical consultations, your doctor can also customise a healthcare plan for you. In addition, your family doctor would also keep in regular contact with you to assess your well-being.

I understand many are still reluctant to visit the doctor regularly. Some, though feeling unwell, dare not visit the doctor for fear of hearing bad news. I hope you can change your mind. Visit your doctor regularly; listen to their advice; and develop good habits to take care of your health.

The Government will provide various subsidies to reduce your medical bills. With the implementation of Healthier SG, the Ministry of Health will increase its spending on preventive care. This would enable you to age well and spend less on your medical bills over the long run. Hopefully, in this way, we can slow down the growth of our country’s overall healthcare spending. So please help us take care of your health so you can have more enjoyable moments with your family. Please sign up for Healthier SG. Keep in mind: “Health is precious, and prevention is key to ensuring our families do not worry”.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic over three years was a serious crisis. We faced the challenge calmly, responded rationally, and worked together as one to overcome the crisis.

Singapore was among the first few countries to emerge from the crisis and recover quickly. Singapore Airlines is flying high again, and the crowds are back at Changi Airport. Many tourists travel here, and many Singaporeans are travelling abroad.

Investors saw how we performed during the pandemic and gained more confidence in Singapore. We attracted many new investments through the crisis and after, economic activity has increased here. As a global financial hub, we are flourishing more than before. We have also strengthened our position as a regional hub for technology, R&D and logistics.

All these did not happen by chance. It was because we planned ahead and maintained mutual trust between the Government and Singaporeans, working closely with each other to turn our dreams into reality.

Recent events involving political figures have made some Singaporeans uneasy. They wonder if there is something wrong with our system. No system is perfect. Whether these events would be a blow to Singapore depends on how we respond. I and my team will definitely do our utmost to maintain Singapore’s clean and effective political system and our reputation for incorruptibility.

Our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew dealt with similar situations decisively. I have dealt with these matters in the same way. I believe my successor will do so too.

This year is the 100th anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s birth. Even as we remember him, we should also remember his guidance. Mr Lee thought that it was important to always remember certain hard truths if our country is to survive. First, never allow our politics to become corrupt. At the same time, maintain the highest standards of integrity, so Singapore can continue to function well. With this as the foundation, we can implement our core values: Equality and meritocracy; bring out the best in our people and strive for excellence; grow our economy to improve the lives of Singaporeans; and build a multiracial and harmonious society.

What Singapore is today is due to the perseverance and determination of our founding fathers. Let us uphold the nation-building ideals of our founding fathers. So Singapore can continue to prosper and progress, brave the winds and storms that come our way, and still strive for a better tomorrow.

Thank you!

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