Thank you for a fruitful session we have had this afternoon. Thank you to NUS for hosting this dialogue, and to students for making the time to attend.
2 Now, we have been on this journey for close to a year now. From November last year we’ve been engaging many segments of society. We have not left out students, because we know students have very good ideas. I’m very surprised that many of the ideas converge with the thinking that civil servants have.
3 But the most important thing is: This is under the Forward SG exercise, which signifies a change of guards. If you heard what PM Lee said recently, he is scheduled to retire. This means DPM Lawrence Wong will take over. He will be given the steering wheel and navigate all of us. What he has done is to bring on board all those who want to shift the future with him. This is the future that all of you not only must be interested in, but have a stake in to discuss ways to refresh our social compact and specifically on the topic of social mobility. Here’s your chance to be part of this process. We have learnt a lot from your presentations, your sharing and your perspectives.
4 I hope that in this process, you too have benefitted, whether it is gaining a deeper understanding of the strengths, aspirations and needs of lower-income families and the importance of sustaining social mobility across generations in our country.
5 Social mobility is Singapore’s solution to inequality around the world. Inequality is one of the big problems, like climate change. As countries prosper, there will be lower-income groups. You see this in advanced economies. And when you do not help this group achieve social mobility, then there will be strife. Because if you do not let them get a chance at a better life, then they will want to reset everything.
6 The recommendations that have been put together this afternoon shows that we are aware that we have succeeded. Not because of our own ability. We succeeded because this system allowed us to succeed. Therefore, it is contingent on us to give back.
7 One of the things about the recommendations this afternoon, is that they are quite evidence-based. We had a productive discussion on the recommendations many of you thoughtfully put together.
8 This year, is the Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners. I have been going around to personally meet with and recognise our partners, from social service agencies to corporates who contribute to the social sector. We want to bring them onboard this meaningful journey with MSF to shift from sporadic giving to sustainable philanthropy. I consider students and NUS our partner as well, as you care about making a difference in the social sector. We recognise and celebrate your contributions.
9 I encourage all of you to continue to be involved in understanding what the Government does. You can come on board as ComLink befrienders or channel your time and energies towards other meaningful causes at MSF – from supporting rough sleepers to empowering Persons with Disabilities, through the MSFCareNetwork.
10 Let us continue to work together and build a more caring and inclusive Singapore. Thank you.