Constant care needed to preserve trust: DPM Lawrence Wong

DPM Wong with IRO’s patron ESM Goh Chok Tong, and various religious leaders. (Source: DPM Wong’s Facebook)

Constant care and attention are needed to preserve trust among Singapore’s different communities, and Singaporeans must never assume that the work is done, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said. This is because “just one lapse, just one mistake, just one careless word can easily undermine many years of hard work”. 

At the 75th anniversary celebration of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) on Jan 23, DPM Wong told the audience that keeping our society together is one of his key priorities as the next Prime Minister. He will be taking over from PM Lee Hsien Loong by November this year.     

“It is quite clear in my mind that one of my key priorities as leader is to keep our society together, to keep Singapore strong and united, amidst powerful forces that will seek to divide us.”   

DPM Wong reminded Singaporeans that the peace that the Republic has in our multi-religious society does not happen by chance.  

IRO leaders observing a minute of silence of prayer (Source: DPM Wong’s Facebook) 

Given the prevailing trend elsewhere towards intolerance and extremism, DPM Wong pointed out that it is remarkable and very precious that Singapore – one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world – is also one of its most harmonious societies.  

Singapore is where it is today in its inter-faith understanding due to decades of hard work. When Singapore gained independence, its founding leaders and PAP’s first-generation leaders set out to build a just and equal society regardless of race, language, or religion, to ensure that every citizen would have equal opportunities. 

The PAP Government takes religious matters seriously and protects religious harmony here through policies and laws such as the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act, DPM Wong said.  

Generations of leaders from the IRO have played an important part in promoting interfaith understanding.  

“You understand that our faiths in Singapore are best practised in ways appropriate to our multiracial and multi-religious context. You set good examples for your communities in promoting mutual respect and understanding,” DPM Wong said as he thanked the inter-faith group’s leaders. 

DPM Wong met up with youth leaders of  Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore’s youth wing. (Source: DPM Wong’s Facebook) 

DPM Wong said that as Singapore embarks on its next phase of nation-building, there is no doubt that the IRO’s work will be more important than ever.  

“IRO has always been a symbol of harmony and unity, especially during tough times,” he added. He also commended IRO’s efforts to develop its next generation of leaders and to reach out to non-religious groups. 

Founded in 1949 by religious leaders of five faiths, the IRO now comprises representatives from the Hindu, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Taoist, Jain, Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Baha’i religions.

Source of feature photo: (Source: DPM Wong’s Facebook)