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Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam speaks at Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum 2012

05 April 2012

Minister Tharman sharing insights on the theme "No Singaporean Left Behind"

The government's most important mission is to build and sustain an inclusive Singapore. To achieve this, this year's budget and work across several ministries have focused increasingly on how to make a significant leap in the living standards for Singaporeans. Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and Minister for Manpower, underscored these points at the Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum (KRMF) themed "No Singaporean Left Behind" on 4 April.

"The government plays its role, particularly in redistribution and ensuring that we can grow as an economy and grow well. It is about everyone playing a part - businesses, employers and Singaporeans to help each other take responsibility for their families. It does not mean my family and me moving up only but it is about how we can move up together," said Mr Tharman to the more than 200-strong audience composed mainly of undergraduates.

During the lively forum discussion, Mr Tharman answered questions on a range of topics including implementing affirmative action to deal with social inequality, increasing opportunities for Singaporeans, maintaining trust between the ruling party and the electorate, tackling the anxieties of the middle-class, as well as addressing the impact of high property prices on middle and low-income Singaporeans.

On the issue of how realistic or idealistic that no Singaporean be left behind, Mr Tharman said that no society could achieve this perfectly. He shared about how efforts by him and his grassroots volunteers have led to a change in attitude among Singaporeans who find the system unsuitable or even unfair.

"When you try and help them and when they see a group of individuals who really want to help them, they themselves rise to the opportunity," said Mr Tharman.

Held annually, the KRMF aims to promote political awareness among Singapore undergraduates and foster their interest on issues of social and economic importance. It is organised by the NUS Students' Political Association.