New year, new wishes: What our MPs hope for in 2024 

31/12/2023

The new year is a time to reset things, set new goals and have new dreams. As we usher in the new year, Petir asked several of our PAP Chairmen and Chairwomen of the Government Parliamentary Committees (GPC) about their hopes for 2024 and what they would focus on. From a call for world peace to good policy design and more dragon babies to boost Singapore’s birth rate, read what they have to say.     

Cheryl Chan, GPC Chair (National Development)MP for East Coast GRC 

“As we look towards 2024, I hope there will be more peace and stability throughout the world. May a new year bring good tidings and bless all with good health and happiness. Also looking forward to continue working with East Coast residents as we build a caring, green and vibrant community! Happy New Year!” 

Desmond ChooGPC Chair (Manpower), MP for Tampines GRC  

“I am hoping that the Dragon Year can augur in a better economy.  With the world in one of the most conflicted times ever, global economic growth is on the knife’s edge. Singapore has benefitted much from being one of the world’s fastest countries to open up post-COVID.  But the uncertainties can take away our growth, jobs, and wage increase easily.  

On a lighter note, I hope that our senior workers can all be in 龙马精神 (old but full of vitality) — their experience is key for our workforce.  On an even lighter note, we do need more births in the Dragon Year!  We need to bolster our ageing workforce and a shrinking one if our births do not pick up.” 

Liang Eng Hwa, GPC Chair (Finance and Trade and Industry), Bukit Panjang SMC 

“As a small country, Singapore has always been a price taker in the global volatile events. Though we have weathered and mitigated the worst of many external impacts, our lives can be better with a more peaceful and harmonious world. So, my old-fashioned wish is that we can see peace in 2024 and that the major conflicts of the world will go away; and among others, a more conducive environment for price stability.” 

Louis Ng, GPC Chair (Sustainability and the Environment), Nee Soon GRC 

“As GPC Chair for Sustainability and the Environment, I hope that we will do more to tackle climate change and lead efforts in this region to cut carbon emissions and ensure that sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.  

I also hope we can do more on parenthood issues such as giving more childcare leave and parental leave. We should also help everyone to have enough time to rest by increasing the minimum annual leave entitlement of seven days. 

I didn’t forget about secondhand smoke too, and I hope we can step up our efforts to protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.  

We should also do more to protect our migrant workers, ensure they are transported properly and have proper accommodation and food.  

I hope we will also do more to safeguard the welfare of animals.  

Lots of hopes and lots more to do and I will continue to speak up in Parliament and push for positive changes.  

In Nee Soon East, we have many events planned to bond the community and more facilities to build where residents can spend quality time with their loved ones. We will ensure that Nee Soon East is not just a place you live in but a place you can truly call your #HomeWithAHeart.” 

Melvin Yong, GPC Chair (Social and Family Development), Radin Mas SMC  

“In the coming year, I will continue to champion the social and family development issues that are close to my heart. These include uplifting low-income families and improving their social mobility, strengthening the institution of marriage, and a further push for better wages, welfare, and work prospects for early childhood educators.

My wish for 2024 is for everyone in Radin Mas constituency to continue our strong partnership with each other to care for the most vulnerable in our community. Together, we will make Radin Mas our Home with Heart. 

Here’s to a good year ahead for everyone. Happy New Year!” 

Murali Pillai, GPC Chair (Home Affairs and Law), Bukit Batok SMC 

“Given what is happening around the world, 2024 is likely to continue to be a year where all hands are required to be on deck as far as issues of national security, safety and advancing access to justice are concerned.   

The GPC, amongst others, will examine our Government’s efforts to “immunise” our public against e-scams which is a worldwide phenomenon. Also, it will review MHA’s responses to prevent the Gaza conflict from becoming a flashpoint within our society. In addition, it will continue to scrutinise government efforts to ensure that vulnerable people such as victims of crime, indigent accused persons and incarcerated prison inmates are treated fairly.   

On behalf of the GPC, my New Year wish is for each of us to better appreciate the peace, safety and security forged by the blood, sweat and tears of our Home Team that we currently enjoy as well as our strong adherence to the rule of law, and be vigilant against efforts to split our society along racial, religious, and socio-economic lines. Together, we will overcome any adversity. “ 

Patrick Tay, GPC Chair (Education), Pioneer SMC 

“I look forward to the next bound of our continuing education and training and SkillsFuture movement to ensure coherence and continuity of policy, conviction of educators, collaboration with stakeholders to build confident contributors and lifelong learners who are well coached. 

On the labour front, building on the lobbying successes of greater Workplace Fairness and stronger support for the unemployed, I look forward to the new law in 2024 to weed out discriminatory practices and fuller details of the unemployment support to help affected workers.” 

Building on our key thrusts in the past three years in Pioneer constituency: Care, Connect, and Create. We hope to further our efforts in the areas of health, sustainability, and safety.” 

Saktiandi Supaat,GPC Chair (Transport), Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC 

Hope to see a year where an efficient, reliable and adequately and optimally priced land transport network continues to be an important enabler for our economy. I hope to see more enhanced transport-related welfare measures and policies such as our transport vouchers programmes embedded into our broader budget framework. This is akin to the CDC vouchers so that in a somewhat sticky environment, our vulnerable segments can access transport cost-related assistance. This can be incorporated as part of the government budget considerations in a single platform rather than the current standalone approach for transport-related cost alleviation measures. 

also hope that the Government can further enhance investments in our various transport nodes in air, land and sea to ensure usage of technology such as AI and big data. This will help the sector ride through some of the potential risks in 2024, for example, investors being cautious in making capital investments in transportation infrastructure and service delivery. 

For my constituency, I hope to continue to build a caring, vibrant and inclusive community at Toa Payoh East. This is my vision for the constituency.  I have launched a cost-of-living assistance programme (CLAP) in end-2022 and hope to continue to ensure our seniors and vulnerable families, especially the children, do not get left behind. To build a more inclusive community, I hope to enhance our vibrancy and inclusiveness through sports and an online portal that I have introduced to help my residents.”   

Sitoh Yih Pin, GPC Chair (Culture, Community and Youth), Potong Pasir SMC 

“We Singaporeans are connected to one another by our shared experiences.  Being a small country, this is not to be taken for granted and to me, it is an uncommon situation and an unusual bond.  We are a close-knit group, recognisable and identifiable especially when we are overseas. 

My hope for 2024 is that Singaporeans will bond together, stick together as a pack, stand shoulder to shoulder and overcome our problems collectively.  This gives us greater hope and pride and so much more!” 

Tan Wu Meng, GPC Chair (Health) 
Jurong GRC 

“As our society changes, policy must keep up, because good policy design is about seeing through the eyes of the people.  Many seniors hope to receive healthcare in the community near to home, with as few trips to and from hospitals as possible.  When there are fewer trips to and fro, it also helps the caregivers. 

For care to be effectively delivered nearer to home, or at home, it means our agencies’ approach to subsidy must change too — so that healthcare subsidies can better follow the patient into the community. 

The path to getting help can be smoother too, and there have been recent steps in this direction. For example, when a patient is ill or needs medical financial help, it affects them regardless of which public hospital or clinic they go to. We have been advocating for MediFund applications to be more streamlined, so that Singaporeans seeking help across different healthcare institutions need not go through too many re-applications.  MOH in November 2023 announced in Parliament that the process will be more seamless.  Good policy must move with the times and focus on the needs of the people.” 

Vikram Nair, GPC Chair (Defence and Foreign Affairs), Sembawang GRC 

“While its cliched to wish for world peace, the GPC for Defence and Foreign Affairs is primarily focused on external security, and as a small country, that is always Singapore’s wish. The reality, of course, is that this wish is unlikely to ever come true and instead, we have to be ready to live and navigate an uncertain world. 

Early last year, Russia invaded Ukraine and started probably the largest European conflict since World War II. We in Singapore condemned the invasion since it breached international law, and as a small nation, we always need to speak up for international law, which we believe is ultimately in everyone’s benefit.  

Just a few months ago, following Hamas’ attack on Israel, war has broken out in the Gaza strip between Hamas and Israel. Although far away, this conflict and the loss of human life has struck a chord in our population and divided many in Singapore, with many condemning the attack on civilians by Hamas, but many others also feeling sympathetic to the Palestinians’ cause and the unfair treatment of the Palestinian population. 

As a small country, Singapore cannot influence these events, and I think it is important for us to take a principled position on these matters, upholding international law. In relation to the Gaza conflict, that means both condemning the attack by Hamas as well as calling out Israel on the settlements in both the West Bank and Gaza, which are against international law. This was a complex matter in relation to which I and colleagues in the GPC proposed a motion in parliament, and it was heartening that despite some disagreements, ultimately, the entire house came together on a unified position on this topic.  

While I still continue to wish for world peace, I recognise that is and always will be an aspiration. My next best wish is that Singapore and Singaporeans will be united on matters of foreign affairs and defence, so that despite being a small country, we can continue to be a coherent and consistent voice on the world stage. Where difficult issues arise, we as a GPC we will do our part to address these head on, discuss matters openly, and hopefully, through parliament, be able to bring people together on these issues.” 

Looking ahead, the PAP government and our MPs will continue to speak up for Singaporeans in Parliament and push for positive changes to build a better Singapore.