Govt stepping up measures to support parents, details to be announced in coming months: PM Lee in CNY message
SINGAPORE — The Government will continue to help parents manage the pressures of raising children and step up support measures, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his Chinese New Year message on Saturday (Jan 21).
Encouraging couples to “do your best in this Year of the Rabbit” to boost the country’s birth rates that dipped last year, he said that the Government will continue to “give children a good start”.
More changes in these areas of support will be announced in the coming months, he added.
From this month, for example, school fees have been lowered at government-supported preschools.
Speaking on the eve of Chinese New Year, Mr Lee reminded everyone to stay vigilant against Covid-19 and continue to take precautions even though celebrations are fully resuming after three years of battling the infectious disease.
This would include self-testing for Covid-19 before visiting elders, staying home if feeling unwell or infected with the coronavirus, and staying up to date with vaccinations, particularly with the bivalent vaccines.
He also appealed to people to remember the hard work and sacrifices of front-line personnel in the ongoing fight against Covid-19 and that new strains of the virus may yet emerge somewhere that bring unexpected challenges.
“We have thus far maintained our Covid-19 posture, while watching external pandemic trends warily. Thankfully, our own situation remains stable,” he said.
Singapore’s shared Covid-19 experience has made its people appreciate their families and loved ones better, and Mr Lee said he is heartened that many young people continue to see marriage and parenthood as important life goals.
“Families are at the core of our social compact, and strong families are central to a stable, resilient society.”
Building on the Year of Celebrating SG Families initiative last year by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Government launched a plan two months back named “A Singapore Made for Families 2025”, with programmes and initiatives to catalyse the whole of society to support families through all phases of life.
This envisions the Government, community partners, businesses and individuals coming together to co-create a society that nurtures strong marriages, raises healthy children and provides greater caregiving needs as the population ages, among others.
“We can all do our part to build a society where every family is valued and supported," Mr Lee said.
“Companies can institute flexible work arrangements and cultivate a more encouraging workplace culture.
“Community partners can pool resources to celebrate and uplift families. Individuals, too, should cherish family time and make it a greater priority.”
Saying that "health is the greatest wealth", he reminded Singaporeans to continue to look out for one another during the pandemic.
"I wish all Singaporeans good health, and a very happy Chinese New Year."