Strong families are the bedrock of Singapore's society, says PM Lee

Published Tue, Feb 17, 2015 · 08:00 AM

SINGAPOREANS need to build strong families as they are the bedrock of society, something generous social policies and grants alone cannot achieve, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his Chinese New Year message on Tuesday.

He said the government is doing all it can to help people build strong families through various initiatives.

To encourage couples to have more children, the government has put in place the Marriage and Parenthood Package, and is rolling out more affordable childcare and pre-schools.

To encourage three-generation families to stay close-knit and make it easier for young couples to live closer to their parents, there are the targeted housing grants.

There is also the Pioneer Generation Package, Silver Support and MediShield Life that will lighten the burden on families taking care of elderly parents, said Mr Lee.

However, Singaporeans also need to strengthen the larger national family and help fellow citizens who are vulnerable or less fortunate.

To this end, the government has strengthened the social safety nets, made it easier for low-income families to own their homes, introduced MediShield Life to give families more protection against large hospital bills, reviewed CPF Life to help families better prepare for retirement and expanded Workfare to support low-income workers and their families.

Noting that Singaporeans are all in this together, Mr Lee said the government's measures are to help families stay together and not to supplant the role that families play.

"Our family ties must not weaken, unlike what we have seen in other societies where the state has taken on more responsibility. We must not let this happen in Singapore - either to our individual families, or to our larger national family," cautioned Mr Lee.

He urged Singaporeans to take the time during this festival to connect with one another and remind themselves what truly matters in life and what it means to belong to a family.

"If each of us plays our part, Singapore will continue to prosper and do well, not just economically, but as a harmonious and cohesive national family, diverse yet one," Mr Lee said.

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