SM Goh says Singapore needs new identity to stay ahead

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said Singapore needs to be one of the most liveable cities – not just in Asia, but globally – and one that goes beyond being clean, green and safe.

Mr Goh shared this new vision of Singapore over the next 25 years at the 50th anniversary of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) on Thursday.

Singapore has come a long way. But as other new cities erode the island’s competitive advantages, Mr Goh said Singapore needs a new identity – a vibrant place with soul that embraces both talents and ideas.

“Singapore must therefore project a new identity – one that captivates the eyes, moves the heart, stirs the soul and inspires the mind,” said SM Goh.

Painting a picture of what he called a “Distinctive City”, Mr Goh sees Singapore as both a convenient, compact city as well as an aesthetically-pleasing city with gardens and water spaces.

Moving on, Mr Goh also sees the country as one that is big on economic ideas but small in its environmental footprint.

Still, it is the quality of its people that is crucial – more important now than at any other time in the past 50 years, said Mr Goh.

There are some 100 000 tourists in Singapore on any given day, and more than half a million foreigners live and work here. This means each must go the extra mile if all are to live in harmony.

“But let me add a caveat here. Those who come to drink from the oasis must add to our ability to replenish the water, and not just consume and deplete the stock. By this I mean that we must manage the inflow of talent and new immigrants to ensure that Singaporeans do not lose out and in fact benefit from their presence,” said Mr Goh.

However, there can be no harmony if Singapore prices itself out and the city is no longer affordable, either in terms of rentals for businesses or homes for people.

The senior minister said: “For those who are worried over the recent price increases, MND (Ministry of National Development) tells me there is adequate supply of homes in the pipeline, both in the central region as well as outside it.

“The government is also committed to releasing more land through the Government Land Sales Programme to ensure that property prices do not fall out of sync with economic fundamentals.”

Mr Goh added that the government will continue to ensure that public housing remains affordable and continue to factor in the increasing demand from permanent residents in the resale market.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 6 Nov 2009

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