Jun 11, 2020, 7:54 pm SGT
SINGAPORE – Singapore’s fourth-generation leadership has risen to the challenge of tackling the coronavirus pandemic, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Thursday (June 11).
In overseeing the country’s response to Covid-19, they have tapped the experience and knowledge of their older Cabinet colleagues, and widely consulted people within and outside government, he added.
“They have stepped up to the task, worked together as a team, and led from the front,” Mr Teo said. “This is the way that we collectively ensure resilience and continuity in our leadership team for Singapore.”
In the third of six national broadcasts on Singapore’s post-coronavirus future, Mr Teo noted that the pandemic is the first major crisis faced by many of Singapore’s new generation of leaders.
They include civil servants, healthcare professionals and officers from the Singapore Armed Forces and Home Team.
The multi-ministry task force handling the Covid-19 situation is co-chaired by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, and comprises other 4G ministers including Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat is the task force’s adviser.
Mr Teo, who is advising the ministers on the outbreak in foreign worker dormitories, said he has worked very closely with them over the past few months. “We speak daily and exchange views freely,” he added.
Singapore, he noted, has responded to Covid-19 as one nation – by “mobilising our financial reserves, our public services, our crisis response capacity, and our social capital”.
Singaporeans have stepped forward to do their part, and the country has avoided the fissures that emerged in other countries which hindered their ability to respond properly, he said.
In his speech, Mr Teo underscored the importance of resilience on all fronts as Singapore heads into an uncertain future.
Where the economy is concerned, this means dealing with the immediate impact of Covid-19 on livelihoods and supply chains.
The industrial capacity and economic resilience that Singapore has built up over the years has thus far allowed it to maintain its food and essential supplies through stockpiling, diversification and self-production, he said.
Singapore, he added, has strengthened its reputation for trust, credibility and transparency in the eyes of international investors, by “keeping Singaporeans informed daily, and dealing with the crisis in a transparent, systematic and thorough way”.
On social resilience, Mr Teo said every crisis strains Singapore’s social fabric.
The national broadcasts by Singapore leaders will start from 7.30pm on the following dates:
June 7: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
June 9: Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.
June 11: Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.
June 14: Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
June 17: Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
June 20: Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
All speeches will be televised in the four official languages. Or watch it on Gov.sg website, Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter.
But its education system gives all Singaporeans the opportunity to build a better life, while the public housing programme provides each citizen a home and a stake in the country’s future. In addition, ethnically integrated neighbourhoods foster racial and religious harmony, he said.
He detailed how the country pulled together following the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, and the 2008 global financial crisis.
“We have drawn on these deep reserves in times of crisis… Covid-19 is an even bigger test,” Mr Teo said.
He lauded the efforts of Singaporeans and others living here to show kindness and compassion to vulnerable groups in the pandemic.
“What we have built as a nation – our solidarity, our resolve and our resilience – gives me confidence that we will overcome the current crisis and any future challenges, to build a stronger and better Singapore together,” he said.