The PAP Government will leave no one behind even while Singapore moves forward.
“We want to be a country where there will always be opportunities for families to better their circumstances, and where their children have hope of a better and brighter future,” said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament Tuesday evening (Apr 18).
To achieve this, Minister Masagos shared key features of Singapore society and what is needed to sustain social mobility.
1. Government policies as enablers
“Governments must always prioritise, invest in and preserve the social foundations of societies,” said Minister Masagos.
Here, sufficient provisions of education, healthcare and housing are needed to give everyone a fair chance to move up in society.
The PAP Government practises this strategy, despite it being no easy feat sustaining it across generations, noted the Minister.
“It is why Singaporeans continue to sit shoulder-to-shoulder, and all can access quality health care at our public hospitals and their children attend school together.”
2. A strong sense of personal agency and work ethic
No one owes us a living. As Singaporeans, this unvarnished truism is deeply embedded in our collective psyche.
“Singaporeans know this, and respect those who have earned their success and similarly want to work hard to do well for themselves, their families and communities,” said the Minister.
So, this spirit of self-reliance and lets-roll-up-our-sleeves work ethic will propel our nation forward despite the oncoming headwinds.
3. Successful people giving back to society
The early years of Singapore’s history were difficult ones. But philanthropists and businesses took it upon themselves to set up hospitals and schools.
This formed a virtuous circle, with more individuals and companies giving back to society and uplifting others.
“We must keep the spirit of giving back alive,” shared Minister Masagos.
4. People working together
Lastly, we all must never underestimate how teamwork is power, like how the private and public sectors worked together to get Singporeans through the pandemic as a united Singapore.
“Not pulling in different directions and ultimately undermining society itself,”said Minister Masagos.
Strengthened policies for the common good
The PAP Government is strengthening its policies to uplift lower-income families in light of these features.
These include giving all children a good start in life through affordable and quality preschool as well as more intensive and proactive support for mother and child through a scaled-up KidSTART program.
Strengthened social safety nets featuring schemes which keep people employed and ComLink help for families living in rental flats also feature.
“From four pilot towns in 2019, we’ve expanded ComLink islandwide to 21 ComLink communities each supported by a Social Service Office,”said Minister Masagos.
“We’re further integrating social programs under ComLink such as KidSTART, UPLIFT Community Network, and Project DIAN@M³ so that families receive support from a single touch point,” he added.
The Minister also called for businesses, philanthropic organisations and researchers to help in this national project of social mobility, noting that the tax deduction of 250 per cent for donations is valid until end 2026 and that the Singapore University of Social Sciences successfully trained KidSTART practitioners.
“We must be a society where Singaporeans will always have opportunities to forge a better life for themselves, regardless of their starting position,” concluded Minister Masagos.
“We must draw on the strength of individuals and families, social capital within our communities, and resources on the public people in public, private sectors to realise this vision.”
Source: MCI, KidSTART