Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam says Singapore should focus on helping children, workers and the elderly have opportunities: 3 Aug 2013

BUKIT BATOK: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam says Singapore should focus on helping children, workers and the elderly have opportunities.

Mr Tharman said the government and community must make sure to step in and give the best chances to those who start off with less.

He was addressing residents at a National Day dinner in Bukit Batok on Saturday.

Mr Tharman said opportunities among children from poorer backgrounds and those from wealthier families should not be so different.

Mr Tharman said this is important for the future to keep social mobility going.

He said Singapore must work harder to make sure this carries on for the next generation.

On jobs, Mr Tharman said workers must have a ladder to progress, and therefore productivity is key to the economy so every sector can improve the quality of jobs.

He said productivity is not just an economic concept, but is about good jobs, better pay and progress.

On the elderly, he added that Singapore must take care of them so that they can retire without worries.

Mr Tharman said the government will do its part to help senior citizens with healthcare costs.

He also urged Singaporeans to be aware of global economic conditions.

Mr Tharman said: "We have to be prepared for a situation where the world economy will be very weak for a long time to come.

"Even in the United States, which is the strongest of the advanced economies today, their job market is very weak and in fact the true pace of recovery that we are seeing - in terms of the number of jobs being created every month, every quarter, every year - is so slow that it will take at least five years to get back to normal."

Source: channelnewsasia.com