Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

OSC project led to key policy changes, helped shape 4G leaders’ desire to work with S’poreans: DPM Heng

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s fourth-generation leaders’ own experiences in engaging citizens and translating their inputs into significant policy changes have strengthened their belief in the need to work with Singaporeans to shape new policies, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Saturday (June 15).

DPM Heng, seen here taking a wefie at Saturday's dialogue, said the Our Singapore Conversation project led to major policies such as the Pioneer Generation Package, MediShield Life and changes to the PSLE scoring system.

DPM Heng, seen here taking a wefie at Saturday's dialogue, said the Our Singapore Conversation project led to major policies such as the Pioneer Generation Package, MediShield Life and changes to the PSLE scoring system.

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s fourth-generation leaders’ own experiences in engaging citizens and translating their inputs into significant policy changes have strengthened their belief in the need to work with Singaporeans to shape new policies, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Saturday (June 15).

He cited his own experience leading the year-long Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) initiative, where feedback from Singaporeans led to major policies such as the Pioneer Generation Package, MediShield Life and changes to the Primary School Leaving Examination scoring system.

“We heard the views of Singaporeans from all walks of life. Both their concerns about bread and butter issues, and their hopes and aspirations. It was a humbling yet gratifying experience,” he said of the OSC initiative which saw more than 47,000 Singaporeans participating in dialogues and giving feedback on a myriad of issues.

Speaking at the Building our Future of Singapore Together dialogue co-organised by government feedback unit Reach and CNA, Mr Heng admitted that when OSC first started, he was not sure where these open-ended conversations would lead to.

Many Singaporeans were also sceptical and thought their opinions would not be taken seriously, he said. Mr Heng said this changed: “But not only were they heard, we were able to translate their inputs into significant policy changes.”

When Singaporeans said they wanted more inclusive healthcare coverage in the OSC, it gave rise to the Pioneer Generation Package and helped create the enhanced MediShield Life. Upcoming changes to the Primary School Leaving Examination scoring system could also be attributed to the OSC, as many felt the education had raised the stakes at too young an age.

“There was a diversity of views, some starkly opposed. But despite the differences, we were able to have open and constructive conversations. Everyone fought on the same side and wanted Team Singapore to win,” Mr Heng told the audience of more than 400.

Other 4G leaders had also learnt from their experiences in community engagements, he said.

For instance, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Community, Culture and Youth Minister Grace Fu had led the SG Future series of engagements in 2015 and come across Singaporeans who wanted to contribute more to society.

“These experiences have crystallised our goals as a leadership team. They have strengthened my own belief that along with working for you, the Government needs to work better with you,” said Mr Heng.

To do so, the Government will partner Singaporeans in new ways to draw on the diversity of passions and expertise among the citizenry to improve policies.

“Second, beyond partnering you in specific areas, we will work with you to create a shared future, one where every Singaporean will have a part to play,” he added.

Mr Heng later called the 4G team’s consultative approach to governance the Singapore Together movement.  

Recalling his own experience in the OSC from 2012 to 2013, he noted that many Singaporeans said they wanted to move from talking, to walking the talk and building Singapore together in partnership with the Government.

“We can realise this aspiration,” he said, adding that the Singapore Together process will strengthen trust between different individuals and community groups, as well as the bond between the Government and the people.

At a dialogue session following his speech, panel moderator and CNA presenter Steven Chia asked Mr Heng about the difference between OSC and the Singapore Together movement.

He replied that unlike OSC, the Singapore Together movement is not just a conversation about what people are worrying about, but how “you and I can take action to do something about it”.

It is also a way to get Singaporeans to think about what future Singapore should look like in the long term.

Mr Chia also asked about what the other 4G leaders thought about the plan. Mr Heng replied that it had their full support.

“Of course, we have discussed this for quite a while. In all our own experiences (with public engagements)… the common factor was to have a strong partnership with people. We all agreed that we must do this. Not just one or two, but the whole team,” he said.

Related topics

Heng Swee Keat Our Singapore Conversation Singapore Together 4G leadership policy

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.