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4G team to refresh social compact, develop 'Forward Singapore' agenda for next decade and beyond: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party's (PAP) 4G team will lead an exercise to refresh Singapore's social compact, through engaging stakeholders on what the Government has done well and how it can better serve the people in different areas.  

4G leader Lawrence Wong speaking at the May Day Rally on May 1, 2022.

4G leader Lawrence Wong speaking at the May Day Rally on May 1, 2022.

Singapore

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  • Several moves have been made during this year's Budget to support workers, but there is still "much more to be done", said 4G leader Lawrence Wong 
  • Refreshing the social compact will be be a major undertaking of the 4G team; exercise will be launched soon
  • Feedback will be gathered from unions, the people and private sectors on the economy, healthcare and housing, among others

SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party's (PAP) 4G team will lead an exercise to refresh Singapore's social compact, through engaging stakeholders on what the Government has done well and how it can better serve the people in different areas.  

Newly appointed 4G leader Lawrence Wong announced this on Sunday (May 1) while speaking to unionists at Downtown East and those who were present virtually at the hybrid May Day Rally. 

"We will consider what we need to do differently, but also affirm what is being done well and how we can do it even better," said Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister. 

"We will engage stakeholders from every sphere — unions, the people and private sectors," he added. "We will seek to hear your thoughts on the economy, healthcare, housing, education and many other areas." 

A social compact is an implicit agreement between the Government and the people on the roles and responsibilities each plays. 

He added that several moves have been made during this year's Budget to support workers, but that there is still "much more to be done".

"Covid-19 and the Ukraine war are major turning points in history which will take us into a new and different world," he said. 

"We also have new generations of Singaporeans coming of age, with different aspirations and expectations, including a desire for more diversity, with more checks and balances." 

This means that the Government must take a "broader look at our objectives and priorities" and consider how it would want to collectively renew and strengthen the social compact, to "define our mission of building Singapore for the next bound". 

Mr Wong added that the aim is to develop a "Forward Singapore" agenda, which will set out the roadmap for the next decade and beyond. 

"This will be a major undertaking of the 4G team and we will formally launch this exercise soon," said Mr Wong. 

"To be clear, this is not just about what the Government can do for you, but also — as we learnt in the pandemic — what we can all do for one another and how we can all, collectively, contribute toward building a better society that embodies the values we stand for."

Agreeing with this move, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said during his speech at the rally that NTUC has forged a “deep-rooted compact” with workers over the last 60 years.

However, there are new challenges emerging, including global security concerns and power rivalries, and domestically, the rising cost of living and an ageing workforce.

“We must be cognisant of these major issues, study the impact, and work with tripartite partners on the way forward.”

Tripartism in Singapore refers to the collaboration among unions, employers and the Government.

Mr Ng added that no matter the political or social situation in the world, NTUC and its unions must anchor on its core purpose to advance workers’ interests.

“We must do more, do better, to understand workers’ problems, connect with both current and new generations of workers, across all work force segments,” he said. “We must innovate to refresh and strengthen our workers’ compact, so that NTUC can protect and uplift workers in the way ahead.”

In his speech, Mr Wong said that progressive social and economic policies could "uplift everyone" regardless of race, language, religion and social background. 

He added that his own life is an example of this. 

He shared that he had come from an ordinary heartland family in Marine Parade and he went to a PAP Community Foundation Kindergarten, Haig Boys’ Primary School, Tanjong Katong Secondary and then to Victoria Junior College — schools that were all near his home. 

"Remember a decade ago, (Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat) said 'every school is a good school'... That to me was not a slogan; it was a lived experience," he said. 

"So I can tell you from personal experience that we must continue to ensure every school remains a good school, for I have experienced first-hand the benefits of inclusion and equal opportunities."

He added that Singapore's pioneers have enabled his generation to do better than their parents. 

"Likewise, for me and my 4G team, we want to ensure the same for the next generation," he said.

"We want those who come after us to also benefit from inclusion, from opportunities, from many more expanding pathways to success and fulfilment." 

Related topics

People's Action Party Lawrence Wong 4G leadership

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