PM Lee delivered a speech at the Ang Mo Kio GRC - Sengkang West SMC Citizenship Ceremony 2017 on 27 May 2017.
Friends, new citizens, grassroots leaders, residents, ladies and gentlemen, very good morning to all of you!
I am very happy to join you today for the Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang West Citizenship Ceremony. Today, we have 150 new citizens who will be receiving your certificates and your pink ICs. You come from all parts of the world from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, even the Netherlands.
All of you have known and lived in Singapore for quite a long time, and you have developed strong links here. Some of you have lived in Singapore for almost ten years, like Ms Kavitha. Others are actively involved in the community, like Mdm Angie Ng. Angie moved to Singapore in 2011 with her husband, who was posted to work here, and they brought their two sons here. Mdm Ng and her family members are receiving their citizenship certificates and new ICs today. Angie has been volunteering at the Teck Ghee Community Club, helping out in events such as National Day celebrations and Lantern Night, and many other celebrations. In the process of engaging and involving herself, she has learnt more about Singapore’s culture and made many friends.
I am happy that you have decided to make Singapore your new country, your home. This is a major life decision. It is not so simple like changing your mailing address or switching jobs. As Mr S Rajaratnam, who was one of our founding fathers, said: “Being a Singaporean is not a matter of ancestry. It is conviction and choice.”
You have chosen to take up Singapore citizenship because you believe in Singapore and identify yourself with what Singapore stands for – a harmonious multi-racial, multi-religious country; a fair and just society where people have opportunities to succeed if they work hard; a cohesive community where Singaporeans care for one another and help one another succeed.
I am happy that you have decided to make Singapore your new country, your home. PM Lee
I am happy that you have decided to make Singapore your new country, your home.
Today is a significant day for you because you will receive your certificates and formally pledge yourselves to become citizens of Singapore. It is also a significant day for Singapore as we will be adding another 150 people to our citizen population. Singapore has very few resources, other than our people and that is why we accept an inflow of immigrants, people who become permanent residents, and then new citizens.
Our total fertility rate is now about 1.3. That means every woman on average produces 1.3 children with her husband. Singaporeans are very far from replacing themselves. Every year, about 30,000 babies are born as Singaporeans. To top-up, we have about 20,000 people becoming new citizens every year and that makes a total of 50,000 new citizens every year, either born or naturalised. If we can keep it up – 50,000 new citizens every year – with a good proportion born Singaporean, we can almost sustain a stable population. Ideally, we should have even more kids born as citizens, and that is what we are trying to do with our marriage and parenthood policies. .
But it is not just a question of numbers. We have to manage the inflow carefully, make sure that the people who come can integrate into our society, that they can fit in; make sure they have the abilities and skills to contribute to our economy; and make sure their hearts are in the right place, so that they will become good Singaporeans.
We are a country. We are not just a city or an economy. When you take up Singapore citizenship, you are not just becoming a resident of this island, you are committing your loyalty to Singapore, pledging yourself to fulfil the responsibilities of a citizen. All of you have all made this decision, and you are now citizens of Singapore. Singapore congratulates you. We welcome you. I hope you will play your part – continue to deepen your roots here; enrich our society with your experience and contributions; and work with fellow citizens, old and new, to build a better future for all of us. Majulah Singapura!
Thank you very much.
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