Lawrence Wong: 'Forward Singapore' agenda to set out roadmap for next decade

·3 min read
Singapore Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong at the May Day Rally at Downtown East. (PHOTO: Chia Han Keong/Yahoo News Singapore)
Singapore Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong at the May Day Rally at Downtown East. (PHOTO: Chia Han Keong/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party's (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) team will be developing a "Forward Singapore" agenda to set out the roadmap for the next decade and beyond, said newly-named 4G leader Lawrence Wong at the May Day Rally at Downtown East on Sunday (1 May).

The agenda will involve engaging stakeholders to hear their thoughts on various areas such as healthcare, housing, education and the economy, and Wong is seeking the Labour Movement's full participation and support for this exercise.

"COVID-19 and the Ukraine war are major turning points in history which will take us into a new and different world. We also have new generations of Singaporeans coming of age, with different aspirations and expectations, including a desire for more diversity, with more checks and balances," Wong said in his first major speech since being named as PAP's 4G team leader and likely Singapore's next prime minister.

"We must take a broader look at our objectives and priorities: consider how we would want to collectively renew and strengthen our social compact; how we would want to define our mission of building Singapore for the next bound.

"The NTUC embodies the aspirations and concerns of all our workers. We wouldn't be here today without the NTUC, and we cannot get to a better place tomorrow without your support."

Ideal of a 'fairer, greener, more inclusive' Singapore

Wong, who is also the Minister of Finance and co-chairman of the multi-ministry taskforce for COVID-19, said that there is no ready blueprint for the Singapore of tomorrow.

However, he would like to see a fairer, greener, and more inclusive Singapore that people will always be proud to call home.

"No one can guarantee that Singapore will do well in this more uncertain and volatile future," he said.

"But what gives me confidence is the experiences of the last two years... We were able to adapt and adjust quickly as we learnt more about the COVID-19 virus, and how to protect lives and livelihoods. Above all, we kept faith with one another and maintained our solidarity and trust in each other.

"The lesson is clear: we will achieve more when we stand together as one united people... Going from ideal to reality will require more than my personal hopes; it's about what we can and must do as a people together."

SG75 as intermediate milestone to SG100

Wong said in his speech that he was encouraged by the grit and resilience demonstrated by young Singaporeans, after he had a dialogue with them organised by the SG100 Foundation, which seeks to engage youths in nation-building towards Singapore's 100th birthday in 2065.

He quipped that SG100 is a long time away, and that he would be over 90 years old by then - if he's lucky to be still around.

However, he is targeting SG75 in 2040 as an intermediate milestone for Singapore's progress in the future.

"By 2040, I will be close to 70," said Wong, who will be turning 50 years old this year.

"I don't know if the PAP will win the next GE (General Election), let alone if it will still be in office in 2040. But I give you my word: whatever lies ahead, I will give every ounce of my strength to this movement, together with my comrades in the 4G team," he added to loud applause and cheers from the May Day Rally attendees.

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