李显龙:新加坡面对三大挑战

星期一, 八月 08, 2016



李显龙总理在国庆日献词中,点出国家面对的三大挑战,就是恐怖主义、经济转型以及政治体系的挑战。总理说,要如何克服这些挑战,保持新加坡的独特性,需要国人团结一心。

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各位同胞:

51年前,当新加坡独立建国时,人民的国民意识不强,能不能团结还是个未知数。那时,我们的资源有限,很难想象这个小岛国要如何生存下去,更别说一起实现繁荣与进步。

尽管建国道路困难重重,大家同心协力,一一地克服了挑战,成功把国家建立起来。去年,我们欢庆了建国50周年,为这些年来的成就感到自豪。现在,基本的衣食住行不再是棘手问题。人民都有良好的工作和就业机会,生活素质也不断提高。我们的子女都能享受良好的教育,发挥潜能。

新加坡能取得这些成就,一大关键是各种族和宗教通力合作,融洽地生活在一起。今年一月,我和印度同胞一起欢庆丰收节。过农历新年时,我也和许多非华族同胞互送柑橘。今年,我有好几次和回教徒同胞共进开斋晚餐。我也到芽笼士乃,感受开斋节夜市的气氛。

这就是新加坡的独特之处。

不过,这不是自然形成的。回顾历史看一看世界各地的情况,我们就知道这个独特的社会来得不易。先辈们以无比的勇气和毅力克服了困境,奠定了各种族和谐共处的稳固基础。我们一定要继续努力,巩固这个基础,以确保国家向前迈进。

崭新的挑战

接下来,我要谈一谈,我们面对的三大挑战。那就是恐怖主义、经济增长和政治体系的挑战。

第一,极端恐怖主义随时可能分裂我们的多元社会。最近,受伊斯兰国组织影响的恐怖份子在世界各地展开了一连串的恐怖袭击,连我们的邻国马来西亚和印度尼西亚都不能幸免。相信还会有更多攻击会发生。我们知道新加坡也是他们要攻击的目标之一。政府已经逮捕了一些自我激进化的新加坡人和客工。如果有一天,本地发生恐怖攻击,我们会团结一致,还是会四分五裂?

第二,多年的经济增长让人民受惠。但我国正处在一个转捩点。全球化和日新月异的科技也改变了我们的生活和工作方式。许多产业被迫转型或改革否则就被淘汰。工友们害怕饭碗不保。我们面对的竞争,其实不单单来自外来劳工,还要担心被电脑和机器人所取代。在这样的情况下,我们能齐步向前,共享经济的果实吗?我们的子孙的前途是否依然光明?

第三,我国的政治体系让我们拥有一个能干的政府,维持了社会的稳定和进步。不过,社会正在改变,国家的团结也面对新的考验。要如何确保政治清廉,稳定有效,并且具有建设性,是一大考验。同时,我们也要避免陷入一味讨好选民的民粹主义和政治僵局。

其他国家都面临类似的挑战,不少已经出现严重的问题。在一些多元宗教的国家,恐怖主义破坏了人民之间的互信,导致关系紧张。在发达国家和地区,只有少数人获益,造成贫富悬殊。世界各大城市的大学毕业生很难找到工作,年轻夫妇也买不起房子。

这些挑战使许多国家在政治上出现分化,政治成了许多选民发泄不满情绪的管道。选民对走温和路线的中间党派失去了信心,转而投向鼓吹极端主义思想的政党。这些政党得到更多的支持,并不是因为他们能提供更好的解决方案,而是他们能替选民说话,宣泄对领导人和现实生活的不满。英国脱欧公投就是一个鲜明的例子。

新加坡要如何保持独特?

新加坡能够挡得住这些趋势吗?和我们相比,许多国家拥有更多的资源、更辽阔的腹地、更强大的劳动队伍。这些国家的历史也更悠久,人民也有更强烈的认同感。尽管如此,这些国家还是陷入了困境。所以,新加坡能保持独特吗?我相信我们办得到。

第一,恐怖主义无所不在,我们一直坦然面对这个威胁。我们的回教徒同胞敢站出来,强烈谴责恐怖袭击以及恐怖分子歪曲了回教教义。我们的非回教徒同胞也能明辨是非,知道我们的回教徒同胞和那些圣战分子是不同的。这一来,我们不分宗教,站在同一阵线,维持高度互信。

第二,为了改善人民的生活,我们会投入大量的资源,确保人人受惠。政府正在扩大教育和技能培训体系,让孩子们从小就有良好的学习环境;让学生们各显才华,实现梦想;让工友们不断提升,掌握实用的新技能。我们也协助企业转型,通过研究和开发来进行创新。这样,即使全球经济不断变化,我们也能够制造新的就业机会。

由于前景不太明朗,政府扩大了社会安全网,提供和加强更多援助计划,帮助有需要的国人。这包括建国一代配套、终身健保、就业奖励和乐龄补贴计划等等。我们也必须确保资金充足,才不会债留子孙。

此外,我们会不断地推动建设性政治,并且调整政治体系,以确保政府能有效执政。更多国人也积极参与政策的制定,共同找出对策,解决各种问题。我们也在修订选举制度,缩小集选区的规模以及增加单选区的数目。宪法委员会也在探讨如何改善民选总统制度,让这个制度可以更有效地团结国家,帮助新加坡取得政治稳定。

不过,新加坡要保持独特,不只是要有良好的治国方针或充足的资源,最关键的是全国上下是否能保持团结。只有齐心协力,克服难题,新加坡才会成功,下一代的前途才会更加光明。

我有信心,我们一定能团结一心,取得成功。去年,一系列的新加坡金禧年庆祝活动,让我们加强了国人的认同和归属感。政府、工会和企业组成的劳资政三方也在紧密合作,帮助工友提升技能、提高经济实力。我们的组屋区设施齐全,大家不分种族和谐共处,同时也互相照应、同欢共乐。

今年,很多国人参与了政府展开的“新加坡未来”交流会。不少人也自动自发组织各类项目,让国家变得更加温馨美好。虽然这些项目林林总总,但所体现的精神是一样的。那就是大家都具备了同样的献身精神,愿意投入时间和精力,为全民打造一个更美好的家园。

这就是团结。团结不是一时兴起,也不是说说而已。团结是大家无畏挑战、不怕牺牲也要风雨同舟,共渡难关。先辈们就是凭着一股“不分种族、言语、宗教,团结一致”的决心,在过去50年,让新加坡从无到有,逐步发展成繁荣的城市国家。接下来的50年,我们同样也要全民一心,迈向未来。

今年的国庆日,我希望大家进一步深思“国家团结”的意义。这里是战备军协榜鹅俱乐部。在这里,可以看到我们携手同心,所打造的新加坡。这里有新建的政府组屋和风景优美的榜鹅水道,还有温馨的家庭以及和谐的社区。

让我们再次誓愿,守护属于我们的新加坡。这是我们的家园,也是我们追求梦想和创造美好未来的地方。这一切都非常宝贵。这一切值得我们用生命去捍卫。

祝大家国庆日快乐!

National Day Message

My fellow Singaporeans,

Half a century ago, when we embarked on our nation-building journey, we could not yet call ourselves “one people”. We found it hard to imagine how we would survive on our own, let alone progress together.

But despite the odds, we made it. Last year, in SG50, we celebrated how far we had come. Singaporeans now own and live in beautiful homes. Our incomes and our lives have improved year after year. Our children receive good education and have bright futures.

Most importantly, our different races and religions live together in harmony. We share common spaces, and celebrate one another’s festivals. In January, I celebrated Pongal with my Indian friends. At Chinese New Year, I exchanged mandarin oranges with non-Chinese friends. During Ramadan, I joined many Iftars and enjoyed the bazaar at Geylang Serai.

Only in Singapore.

But we did not start out as “one people”. Never forget how rare and precious this harmony is, how much courage and toil went into creating it, and how much effort it takes to sustain this miracle. What we have here is remarkable, especially considering the state of the world today.

Fresh Challenges

Our journey to become ever more united continues. While we have made great strides, new challenges lie ahead. Let me name three of them.

One, we have a harmonious multi-racial society, but extremist terrorism can tear our society apart. In recent months, terrorists inspired by ISIS perpetrated attacks in the US, Europe, Turkey, Bangladesh, and closer to home, in Malaysia and Indonesia. There will be more. We know Singapore is also being targeted. We have detained self-radicalised Singaporeans and foreign workers. If a terrorist attack were to occur here, will we stand together, or will we fall apart?

Two, economic growth has benefitted us all, but our economy is at a turning point. Globalisation and technological change are disrupting our work and our way of life. Entire industries are being forced to innovate or perish. Our workers worry about their jobs. They face competition not only from workers elsewhere, but also from computers and robots. Can we continue to progress together, and share widely the fruits of growth? Will our children have a brighter future?

Three, our political system has thus far delivered good government, stability and progress. But our society is changing, and our unity will come under new strains. How do we make sure Singapore continues to have clean and constructive politics, and effective and stable government? How do we avoid the pitfalls of populism or political gridlock?

Other countries, facing similar challenges, have run into trouble. In multi-religious societies, terrorism has caused distrust and tensions. In many advanced economies, growth is disproportionately benefiting a minority of the population. In cities across the world, graduates struggle to find jobs and young couples can’t afford homes.

As a result of all these challenges, politics in many countries has become divisive and angry. Voters lose faith in moderate parties in the political centre. Extreme views and parties gain support – not by offering better solutions, but by expressing voters’ anger at their leaders, and frustration with the way things are. The Brexit referendum was a vivid example.

How can Singapore be different?

Can Singapore resist these forces? Other countries have more resources and bigger hinterlands, longer histories and stronger identities. And yet they have run into trouble. Can Singapore be different? I believe that we can.

First, with terrorism, we acknowledge the threat honestly. Muslim Singaporeans are not afraid to take a forthright stand, to condemn terrorist attacks and the perverted ideology of the perpetrators. And non-Muslim Singaporeans distinguish clearly between their peaceful Muslim fellow citizens and jihadist terrorists. Thus we stand together, and strengthen trust in our multi-religious society.

Second, to enable us to prosper together, we are investing in every Singaporean. We are expanding and upgrading preschools, to give every child a good start in life. Our schools cater to different talents so that every student can realise his potential and dreams. SkillsFuture will help everyone to upgrade themselves and master valuable new skills. We support companies’ efforts to transform themselves, and to innovate through R&D, so that we can create new jobs in a changing world economy.

To help us cope with more uncertain conditions, we have strengthened our social safety nets. Hence the Pioneer Generation Package, Workfare, MediShield Life, CPF Life and now, Silver Support. We will ensure that our schemes are sustainable, because our children must not be burdened with debt.

Finally, to ensure good government, we are keeping our politics constructive and updating our political system. Singaporeans are coming together to solve problems and get things done, from developing Pulau Ubin to charting our future economy. We are fine-tuning our electoral system, to make GRCs smaller and create more SMCs. The Constitutional Commission is studying improvements to the elected Presidency, to make it a more effective unifying institution and a stabiliser.

However, the most fundamental factor in keeping Singapore exceptional is not good plans or adequate resources; it is whether we remain united. It is our shared resolve to tackle challenges together that determines whether we succeed, and whether our children have a brighter future.

I am confident that we will hold together and succeed. SG50 strengthened our sense of identity and nationhood. Our tripartite partners are working closely to upgrade our workers and our economy. Our housing estates are integrated communities where people not only live together, but know their neighbours, celebrate each other’s festivals, and keep an eye out for one another. Many Singaporeans spend time with the elderly and the disadvantaged, and help the disabled get around.

This year, many Singaporeans have participated in SGfuture and launched projects to make Singapore better – to become a more caring community, to encourage one another to learn and share skills, to build a cleaner and smarter home. These projects all reflect the spirit of service, the willingness to commit time and energy to make a better home for all.

This is what unity means. It’s more than a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s the iron resolve to hold together, despite the challenges, despite the sacrifices we have to make. It was our forefathers’ determination to be “one united people, regardless of race, language or religion”, that drove them to transform Singapore over the last 50 years. This same resolve will carry us through the next 50.

This National Day, I hope each of us will reflect on what this unity means. Here, at SAFRA’s new Punggol clubhouse – where I am speaking – you can see the Singapore that we are building together. The HDB homes, the Punggol Waterway, the NSmen and their families, the community – all testify to how much we can achieve when we work as one.

Let us renew our commitment to Singapore and to one another. This is where our families and friends live. This is where our future and hopes are. They are precious to us. They are worth defending with our lives.

Happy National Day!

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