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Prime Minister's National Day Message 2005


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Message 2005
On 9 August 1965, Singapore became an independent and sovereign nation. Suddenly, we were on our own, with no natural resources to exploit, no hinterland to fall back upon, and no army to defend ourselves.
But we were determined to survive, and started building a nation from scratch. We worked hard to improve our lives, and create a future for our children.
Today, we have every reason to rejoice. In 40 years, we have succeeded beyond all expectations.
a. Our economy has developed and prospered. After each downturn we have bounced back, to create more jobs and a better life for all.
b. Our society is harmonious and cohesive. We have built mutual trust between different communities, and drawn all Singa­poreans closer to one another.
c. We are attracting investments and talent from around the world, to live in a safe, clean, and dynamic city.
d. The SAF and our Home Team are strong and tested. Because of them, we can sleep peacefully at night.
e. We are deepening our sense of shared destiny, and maturing as a nation.
Despite many years of peace, we must remain vigilant against threats to our security. The bombings in London and in Egypt remind us that the war on terror continues, and despite the tightest precautions, the terrorists sometimes get through.
We must be psychologically prepared for this, so that if they ever strike here we will be resolute and indomitable, refusing to be cowed by the terrorists and staying one united people.
This year, our economy continues to grow steadily. Growth in the first half was 4.0%. For the whole year, we can expect growth to be between 3.5% and 4.5%.
We added 45,500 jobs in the first half, many more than in the same period last year. This has made it easier for displaced workers to find new jobs. Our efforts to re-design and re-create jobs for older, less-skilled workers have also helped.
Looking ahead, we face a totally different world. China and India are emerging as strong, competitive economies. Globalisation is intensifying competition and speeding up the pace of change.
Faced with these common challenges, the countries of ASEAN are working more closely together. We will form an ASEAN Community by 2020. In fact, today, August 8, is ASEAN Day. Together with our ASEAN partners, we will raise awareness of ASEAN among our citizens. Greater ASEAN integration will help us to tackle these challenges and seize the opportunities before us.
Singapore¡¯s strong fundamentals enable us to face the future with confidence. Our main priority is to grow and upgrade the economy.
We need to develop new skills and capabilities, open new markets abroad, bring in investments and seed new areas of growth.
We did not start off as a financial centre, an electronics manufacturing base or an air and sea hub, but we made ourselves all these. We cannot stop here; we must continue to reinvent ourselves and build new competencies, as we are doing in bio-technology and multi-media.
We must also continue growing our external wing, and seek opportunities in ASEAN, China, India and the Middle East. Then we will create new jobs, and more than make up for the old jobs that are phasing out.
To achieve all these we must equip ourselves with the right skills and attitudes to thrive in the face of uncertainty and change. Hence our emphasis on a first class education system. Every Singaporean ¨C and not just a select few ¨C must receive the best education that he is capable of.
So we are investing heavily in polytechnics and ITEs, and not just in universities. We are paying attention to Normal stream students, and not just those in the Express and Special streams. We are emphasising lifelong learning, and not just pre-employment education.
We also need to remake our city, so that it is vibrant, cosmopolitan and throbbing with energy, with our own distinctive X-factor that makes us stand out from other cities.
Global cities like London, Paris, New York and Shanghai are continuously re-making themselves, so all the more must we. This is the deeper reason, beyond attracting tourists, why we are developing integrated resorts.

Source: Media Release 8 Aug 2005


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9 August 2005