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Opening Remarks by Mr Masagos Zulkifli at 2020 National Day Ceremony For Social Service Sector at Enabling Village

Type: Official Speeches (All)

Topic(s): Financial Assistance & Social Support

Distinguished guests
Parliamentary colleagues
Fellow Singaporeans
Ladies and Gentlemen


1. Good morning and Happy National Day. I am pleased to join you here at Enabling Village to celebrate National Day 2020.

a. This year marks 55th years of Singapore's independence.
b. It has been a challenging year for our country.
c. As we have found ourselves in this crisis of a generation when COVID-19 hit our shores.

2. In the midst of this pandemic, our celebrations this year takes on a special significance.

a. Today we commemorate the strength and resilience of our people.
b. From our pioneers to Singaporeans who have stood together to overcome the challenges we face today.

Bringing NDP to our homes
3. This year, we have taken on a different format to celebrating because we need to provide everyone with a safe environment.

4. We have brought celebrations to the heartlands and into every Singapore home, where all Singaporeans can enjoy the parade in their neighbourhood and the comfort of their own home.

5. Joining us at the Padang and several locations across the island are our President, and other Government representatives. They represent key national sectors for the flag ceremony.

6. We are gathered here at the Enabling Village because it represents the ethos of our social services sector

a. Where everyone has something to contribute, in his own way.

b. While we retain our individual values, we work better together, to deliver support that is Comprehensive, Convenient and Coordinated to individuals and families in need.

c. Our beneficiaries are always placed at the centre; and

d. We will not leave any Singaporean behind in our pursuit of providing everyone the best possible opportunity for advancement and development.

7. The Enabling Village is also an inclusive community. It is a space dedicated to serving persons with disabilities and open to all.

a.Made possible only with the support of Social Service Agencies or SSAs, businesses and the public working together to build a vision of a more inclusive Singapore.

b.With this collective efforts, we will persevere and emerge stronger together.

The Current COVID-19 situation
8. After many months of relentless efforts by our people and the strength of our frontline workers, we have stabilised the situation in the Singapore community.

9. However, we are far, far from over in this crisis as we press on to complete clearing the remaining Foreign Worker dormitories. We must therefore continue to stay vigilant and unite together to watch out for each another and mobilise our resources to help each other in this most difficult of times. The emergence of second and third waves in other countries have alerted us to the dangers of letting our guard down.

Partnerships with Corporate and Community Organisations
10. We have seen the impact that the pandemic has brought onto families and individuals - health shocks, reduced mental well-being, unemployment, and many more

11. To cushion the impact on our jobs and income, the Government introduced four Budgets in quick succession, injecting close to $100 billion. At MSF, we rolled out the Temporary Relief Fund and COVID-19 Support Grant providing families with much needed support during times of dire financial need. The National Council of Social Service also administers The Courage Fund and the Invictus Fund. But we cannot do this alone.

12. I am heartened that many individuals, corporate and community organisations stepped forward to help the vulnerable in the community as well as to show their support to families or frontline and migrant workers. For example

a. During the circuit breaker, staff of the Singapore Children's Society delivered over 40 donated and refurbished laptops to their beneficiaries so that they could do their home-based learning.
b. Over 500 rough sleepers were relocated to temporary shelters through the PEERS network during this period, where our community partners and SSAs provided them with safe sound sleeping places and case management support.

c. Many youth and community leaders, volunteers have joined us in reaching out to vulnerable low-income families in rental housing under an SG Cares Community Outreach effort to offer financial, emotional and other support to families who require it.

d. To streamline food donations, DBS is collaborating with The Food Bank to launch a food banking app later this year. The app will connect donors, SSAs, food support organisations and logistics providers on a single platform.

13. Singaporeans have also responded generously to help in the fight against COVID-19.

a. From January to June 2020, Singaporeans have donated about $100 million to Community Chest, Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS)'s Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF), and through Giving.sg.

b. At the same time, over 15,000 people have signed up to volunteer at Giving.sg, as compared to about 13,000 over the same period last year.

14. Crisis often brings out the best in us. Even as this pandemic has caused major disruptions to our lives, I am glad that the community has stepped up to support our fellow Singaporeans.
15. I am deeply encouraged, and confident that this will continue to see us through the most difficult periods of this pandemic.

16. Only together, we will overcome challenges and putting our best foot forward to build our economy and emerge as a resilient and caring society.

17. Thank you and please enjoy the National Day Celebrations.