Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Teck Ghee National Day Celebration Dinner 2023 on 26 August 2023.
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Apa khabar kepada para penduduk Teck Ghee? Saya sangat gembira dapat berjumpa anda semua malam ini untuk menyambut Hari Kebangsaan kita. Saya harap anda telah mengikuti ucapan saya di Rapat Umum Hari Kebangsaan Ahad lalu.
Dalam ucapan itu, saya telah menyentuh bagaimana kita berjaya keluar daripada COVID dengan baik. Bagaimanapun, sekarang kita perlu berdepan dengan cabaran-cabaran baru sebagai satu rakyat. Ekonomi kita melalui sedikit kelembapan tetapi kita tidak terlalu terjejas. Kami tahu rakyat Singapura bimbang tentang kenaikan kos sara hidup.
Pemerintah berazam untuk membantu anda menghadapinya. Kami telah memperkukuh Pakej Jaminan untuk membantu rakyat Singapura. Sepanjang tahun, hampir setiap bulan, rakyat Singapura menerima bantuan berbagai-bagai bantuan – seperti baucer CDC, rebat-rebat U-Save dan S&CC, ataupun wang tunai. Kami sedang meninjau kemungkinan menambah sokongan ini supaya dapat memberi bantuan tambahan lagi pada tahun yang akan datang.
Di peringkat kawasan undi, kami juga ada beberapa skim bantuan. Ini termasuk anugerah dermasiswa dan yuran tuisyen bagi golongan pelajar kurang bernasib baik; baucer bagi warga emas yang memerlukan serta bantuan makanan bagi keluarga-keluarga bergaji rendah.
Ayuh kita terus bergotong-royong untuk membantu satu sama lain demi membina kediaman yang lebih baik di Teck Ghee dan di seluruh Singapura.
Sekarang izinkan saya meneruskan ucapan saya dalam Bahasa Mandarin dan Inggeris.
Helping our People Age Well
市中心的翻新也是为了配合建屋局的“再创我们的家园”计划 (Remaking Our Heartland) ，改善我们的市镇环境，让居民有更好的生活。除了在市镇中心，政府将尝试把这些对乐龄人士有益的设施，例如无障碍走道等等， 综合起来，把一个小区改成“乐龄安全区”(Silver Zone) 让年长者更安全地在社区里走动。我们其中一个新的安全区就会在宏茂桥31街和32街。这个新的计划做好之后，我希望对所有的居民，尤其是乐龄人士，有所帮助。
Very happy that we have resumed our programmes after COVID; we had large-scale programmes like Chingay @ Heartlands a few months ago and National Day Observance Ceremony a few weeks ago. The Teck Ghee community spirit is strong!
Addressing Cost of Living Concerns
At the National Day Rally last week, I talked about how we will support you to cope with the cost of living and inflation. Globally, food prices are going up, energy prices have gone up. In Singapore, too, we import a lot of our food, we import nearly all of our energy — our prices have had to go up, and you see it in the utility bills and S&CC charges. Costs go up in Singapore, it affects all of us, and especially it affects the older folks — no longer working, retired, living on their savings. No one wants these cost increases, but sometimes they cannot be avoided.
That is why we have rolled out the Assurance Package last year to give assistance to our households. At the Rally, I showed the calendar — you may have seen my calendar, every month, starts in April, because April is the beginning of our Financial Year. April to April, every month, there is some item there which is from the Government — either U-Save top-up, or Medisave top-up, maybe cash rebate, or maybe CDC Voucher. The only month where we did not have anything last year was in November and this year again November; last year November because last year was the World Cup and 财神爷 was busy watching football. This year November, because every month you have something, so November we took a break. But December, there was again cash grant for household, and in January, there was again CDC Voucher. So every month we have something, 大大小小, more or less, I think it has helped people to cope with the cost of living.
As I said at the Rally, residents have been asking me, can we top up just a little bit more, get a little more help? You ask me, I ask who? So I asked the Finance Minister; Finance Minister has to think about it, and I hope that we will be able to do a little bit more and ease your burden a little bit more, so we can all get through this together.
In addition, in Teck Ghee, we have our own assistance schemes too, e.g. Chinese New Year ang baos and our education bursary awards, NTUC vouchers for needy families, to help residents see through, and to make sure we all are together and nobody is left behind.
Helping our People Age Well
The other issue which I talked about at my Rally, which is also on people’s minds, and especially our own residents’ minds, is our rapidly ageing population. In Ang Mo Kio and Teck Ghee, we pay a lot of attention to this because many of us are either Pioneer Generation, or Merdeka Generation, or we will be getting the Majulah Package. I think probably more than half of us will be there.
What can we do about this? There are many things we can do, but I talked about two things at the Rally and I will say a bit about them again. One is active ageing — to keep fit, to keep well, to keep in touch with your friends, to be able to feel that there is something in life you want to do and some purpose to look forward to for tomorrow. We have in Teck Ghee, 5 Active Ageing Centres which has many activities. Our CCs and RNs also organise all sorts of courses and activities — like Zumba, Yoga, Tai Ji Quan, and many others. You have got all sorts of exercises. Sometimes I joined in and I got to work very hard and sweat. It is good fun and it is good, and I hope that all of you will come down and join in and take part from time to time, if possible, regularly. In fact, tonight, we have a group of senior citizens performing. Later on, you will see a live band of seniors from our very own Community Arts & Cultural Club. This is exactly what Active Ageing is about — coming together, enjoying activities with your friends, putting up performances, and being appreciated and feeling there is something I want to do in life. Congratulations to the band in advance! Let’s look forward to their music later on.
Apart from active ageing, I also spoke about making our HDB homes and precincts more elderly friendly. For example, we are updating our Town Centre — in fact, the works are ongoing now. We are making it more attractive and lively for residents and shopkeepers alike.
At the same time, we are making it more barrier-free; with more ramps, rest points and shelters along the way, so that it is safer and easier for seniors to get around, and hopefully more seniors will be encouraged to come and visit the town centre more often. We are also enhancing the Silver Zone at St 32 which is in Teck Ghee, to make our streets safer for seniors. For example, we will have road humps, we will make the roads narrower so the cars have to drive slower. We will put safety markings so that the cars are warned, they know this is a place with a lot of old people so they will slow down. These projects will complement HDB’s “Remaking Our Heartlands” programme, to make the precincts more liveable for all age groups.
And it is not just for the old folks. We will look after the old people because we owe this generation — the PG, the MG and the older ones — a lot for bringing us up, for bringing us here, for making Singapore what it is today. But at the same time, we owe our responsibility to the future, to make sure that Singapore has a bright future, that our children and grandchildren will be able to build on what we have done and make Singapore even better.
You saw the video of Mr Lee Kuan Yew just now to commemorate LKY100. Without Mr Lee and his team, we would not be here today. But one of the things when we think of Mr Lee is not just to remember him, but to also remember what he fought for, what he stood for, what he tried to achieve and what we should continue to work towards in the next generation, and the next, and the next generation.
He said many things which are quotable and which we remember. But one of the quotes from Mr Lee is talking about the leadership of Singapore. He says, “My deepest responsibility is not to the present and certainly not to the past, but to the future of Singapore.” We look after the present. We have to see to the cost of living; we have to see to all the problems which people have, make sure people have jobs, and can look after their families, children are in schools and so on. We will take care of the senior citizens. They brought us here, we owe them a great debt of gratitude, and we want to make sure they are alright in their golden years. And we must remember where we came from, how we got here.
But our most important responsibility is to the future, to make sure Singapore can make progress, to make sure that our children are well prepared, to make sure our economy is strong, and Singapore is well-defended, and we can move forward with confidence and steadily. Whatever happens in the world, whether you have COVID, whether you have tensions between the great powers, whether there is a war in Ukraine, we are steady, we are strong. We will step by step move forward and create a better future for ourselves.
That is what we need to do as a nation. I think that is also what we need to do in Ang Mo Kio and in Teck Ghee, and that is what I have been trying to do and I am sure my successors will also be doing the same. So I hope you will work with us towards this goal.
Today, we celebrate. Let’s work together to make sure that in 10 years’ time, 20 years’ time, 50 years’ time, our children can celebrate and can equally look forward to a brighter tomorrow and a better Singapore. Thank you very much. Wish you a very Happy National Day and Majulah Singapura! Thank you.
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