National Day Rally 2022 Highlights
Source: Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore
On 21 August 2022, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his National Day Rally. Here are some of the key highlights from the rally:
Easing of Mask Requirements
One of the key highlights mentioned is the mask requirement. With the COVID-19 situation in Singapore under control, wearing of masks would only be mandatory in public transports and in healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals, residential and nursing homes. This means that Singapore Workers are no longer required to wear their masks in the office, which will enhance communication at work by making facial expressions visible. The Multi-Ministry Taskforce’s has announced that it will take effect from 29 August 2022, Monday.
Another key highlight from the rally is regarding our economic struggles. Although most sectors are slowly recovering from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19, and in turn, worsened the problem of inflation. While we do not have much influence over global inflation, what we can do is to make ourselves more efficient and competitive. By pursuing skills upgrading at every opportunity, employees are able to earn a higher income which makes up for the inflated prices of food, fuel and other necessities. “This requires us to press on with economic upgrading and restructuring [and] redouble our transformation efforts,” said PM Lee.
There is a lot of hard work put in behind the scenes which people often take for granted. Nothing happens magically, not even in Singapore. We are only able to achieve progress during difficult times by strategic forward planning—that is how we ought to continue preparing ourselves for the future.
Securing Our Future
The next highlight from the rally is about securing our future. To survive, PM Lee stressed, “we must stay open and connected to the world”. As a global city, we must continue to attract foreign investments, overseas markets, and communication and transport links which are vital for our survival. We have to be adaptable in order to establish ourselves as a financial centre as well as a communication and transportation hub.
Furthermore, PM Lee added that we have to build a world-class talent pool in Singapore and empower every Singaporean to achieve their full potential. We need to continually attract and retain the top talents so that we will not be left behind. Internationally, countries are doing all that they can to entice the cream of the crop. Notable examples include Germany, which has allowed skilled talents to settle down even before getting a job, and the UK, which has a Global Talent visa.
While PM Lee noted the concerns some citizens have regarding the large numbers of non-residents living and working here, he reiterated the need to retain top talent to contribute to our Singapore story.
The “quality, reliability and efficiency” of our infrastructure has been our competitive advantage. Despite existing schemes in place to attract the best talents, there is more to be done, especially in sectors with high potential growth such as the IT industry. There will be increased initiatives by several government agencies targeted at highly skilled professionals worldwide, so that we will “shine brightly as a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship, and growth”.
Source: Changi Airport Group
Tuas Port and Changi T5
The final highlight from the rally is regarding the plans for Tuas Port and Changi T5. Our seaport and airport are invaluable in our success as a “thriving business and trading hub”. Hence, we must constantly improve our sea- and air-ports. Whilst making the move to Tuas, our port operations have been modernised. Management and unions worked very closely together to retrain employees and help them adjust to their new working environments. Employees also went for skills upgrading and became more productive. After Tuas Port is fully operational in about 20 years down the road, it will manage 65 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in a year, which would be twice the volume in present times. “We will have the world’s largest fully automated port, and that should make us a leading global player in the maritime space,” said PM Lee.
Likewise, the new T5 in Changi Airport is meant to further cement our position as a global aviation hub. This ambitious move to expand our airport is based on our assessment that post-pandemic air travel will only increase. Equivalent to the size of the current airport, Changi T5 is specifically designed to be greener, more resilient and energy-efficient. In addition, the Changi East Urban District—an up-and-coming business and lifestyle destination—will be developed beside T5.
With all the uncertainties coming our way, PM Lee stressed the importance for Singaporeans to stand united alongside a high-quality leadership team. There must be high trust between the people and their leaders, without which the best laid schemes will amount to nothing. Good leadership is non-negotiable to sustain faith in the entire political system. We need to brace ourselves for difficult, but nonetheless exhilarating, decades ahead.
“Not just Singapore’s continued success, but our very survival, depends on us having the right leaders. Leaders with integrity, dedication, and competence.”—PM Lee Hsien Loong