Okay, maybe five minutes if you’re not into speed reading.
As you might already know, PM Lee took ill halfway through his speech. It gave the whole nation a hugeeeee scare, but thank goodness it didn’t appear to be anything serious.
According to PMO, PM was feeling unsteady because of prolonged standing, heat and dehydration. His heart is fine and he did not have a stroke.
PM Lee took a break and came back to deliver the rest of the speech.
Ok, back to the subject.
Overall, the key message that PM Lee tried to convey seems to be this – that we can all have a better home, a better life and a better future, only if all Singaporeans do our part.
To the disappointment of many, not many carrots were dangled around this time round. But hey, what were you expecting from a non-election year?
Anyway, here’s a summary of the FIVE key topics that you need to know about this year’s National Day Rally:
(Key points in bold)
Challenges to Economy
- Technology and globalisation cause disruptions (e.g. Uber and Grab). Change is fast and relentless.
- We need to embrace change, and help people adapt. We cannot stop progress.
- The government will work with industries to (a) build new capabilities, (b) promote entrepreneurship and (c) develop skills. That’s the Committee on Future Economy (CFE), chaired by Heng Swee Keat and S Iswaran, is doing
US, China and the South China Sea
- Singapore needs a network of friends. Beyond Malaysia and Indonesia, our most important friends include the US and China. But the South China Sea issue might potentially upset stability and friendship in the region.
- Singapore doesn’t have any claims in South China Sea, and we don’t take sides.
- But we want to ensure that (a) international law to be upheld, and disputes to be settled peacefully, (b) freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, being a maritime nation, and (c) ASEAN is united and effective.
- Other countries will try to pressure us into taking sides, but we have to stand by our own principles, and stand up for our own position.
- The threat is very real. There have been plans by terrorists to attack Singapore. Singaporeans are not immune to jihadist propaganda; we have arrested a dozen Singaporeans who have been radicalised.
- Our religious and community leaders refute extremist views, and understand that ours is a multi-racial society.
- Multi-racialism in Singapore is precious and unique, and must be preserved and strengthened. There has to be give and take, and each community has to engage and understand each other.
- The government welcomes the call from the Malay-Muslim community in making the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) compulsory for Islamic religious teachers. (The scheme recognises teachers and scholars who meet the minimum standards of qualification to preach and teach Islamic religious knowledge.)
- Building up leadership and preparing for succession is the top priority. PM Lee and some of his cabinet colleagues are not getting any younger, and have health problems.
- Soon after the next General Elections, PM Lee’s successor must be ready to take over from him.
- But it is difficult to find and convince good people to join politics. Singapore needs men and women with ability and conviction who will step forward.
- Heng Swee Keat will resume duties as Finance Minister, and Lawrence Wong will be appointed as second minister to help Heng Swee Keat out.
Ok, folks. That is all.