Statement from the Prime Minister on new awards for community initiatives, social service and the arts

PM Lee Hsien Loong | 5 April 2012

Following the ministerial salary adjustments in 2007, I announced that I would donate to charity the increase in my own salary for a period of five years. These donations have helped a good number of groups and causes that strive to make Singapore the best home for ourselves and our families. The beneficiaries include:

a.    An education endowment fund for students who have persevered and done well, academically and non-academically;

b.    Community hospitals and nursing homes that care for the sick and infirm;

c.    Voluntary Welfare Organisations that serve the less fortunate and disadvantaged in society; and

d.    Sports and cultural bodies that enrich our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

This is the fifth year of these donations. This year, besides giving to a range of community, grassroots, youth, arts and welfare organisations, I am donating $350,000 to establish three new awards to promote community bonding, encourage Singaporeans to pursue careers in social service, and recognise our young arts talent.

Firstly, I will donate $200,000 to establish a Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) under the People’s Association (PA). This will sponsor community projects initiated by the PA grassroots organisations to strengthen bonds among residents. I hope the CIF will spur more Singaporeans to come forward to help other Singaporeans, in big ways or small, so as a build a more inclusive and united community.

Secondly, $100,000 will go towards a new Prime Minister’s Social Service Award, to encourage more Singaporeans to choose careers in social service. Professionals in the social service sector touch the lives of the less fortunate among us, and help ensure that no Singaporean is left behind. This award will complement the current scholarships awarded by the National Council of Social Service. I hope it will signal the importance of social service professionals in our society, and our esteem for their vocation and service.

Finally, I will contribute $50,000 to establish a Prime Minister’s Valedictorian Award for the top student in each graduating cohort from the School of The Arts (SOTA). Each time I visit SOTA, I am struck afresh by the energy and talent of the students. As Singapore develops economically, we must not neglect the arts and culture, whether in the form of music, drama, dance or the visual arts. The arts complement our economic progress, and make our lives more rounded and fulfilled. I hope that this Award will encourage our budding young artists studying in SOTA to do well, and pursue their passion for the arts.

We like to think of ourselves as maturing society. To be such a society, we must strike a good balance between our material and non-material goals. Our citizens must be ready to step forward to help others and serve the community, whether through voluntarism, philanthropy or social enterprises. Such empathy and cohesion will underpin our continued progress as a nation. I hope that these donations and awards will encourage charities and volunteers to continue their excellent work to make Singapore a better home for all.

5 APRIL 2012

Annex A - PA's Press Statement (pdf, 329.78KB)
Annex B - MCYS' Press Statement (pdf, 199.58KB)
Annex C - SOTA's Press Statement (pdf, 215.35KB)