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Speech at The Ministry Of Manpower’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, Bay East Bridge

  1. Fellow Colleagues
  2. Good Morning!
  3. Look around us today and admire the beautiful Marina Bay. 
  4. 20 years ago, when MOM was born, Marina Bay did not look anything like this. But it is today one of the most vibrant business and lifestyle destinations in Asia. 
  5. It is truly a centrepiece of Singapore’s urban transformation. Land reclamation started in 1971 and took more than 20 years to complete.
  6. The impressive, modern skyline did not materialise overnight; it emerged as each iconic project was built up – the Flyer, the beloved “durian” Esplanade, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay.
  7. The transformed Marina Bay is a great setting for today’s celebration of MOM’s 20th anniversary. 
  8. It reminds us that at the heart of everything we do, MOM seeks to build a better future for the workers and businesses of Singapore. That will always be the starting point of all our policies, programmes and the services we deliver.
  9. It is painstaking work, just like the building up of Marina Bay, which takes vision and persistence, teamwork and collaboration, in all departments, at all levels. 
  10. Last Friday, in my note to colleagues, I outlined the many ways in which MOMers have contributed to creating a Great Workforce and Great Workplaces. We had to overcome challenges like the Asian and Global Financial crises.
  11. Through sound and balanced manpower policies, we made it possible for our businesses to grow sustainably, our economy to stay vibrant and our people to enjoy good employment outcomes.
  12. Through initiatives like Workfare, CPF Life, Silver Support, WSH 2018, Tafep, A&G, we helped to provide more safety and security.
  13. To all MOMers, past and present, thank you (x3) for your hard work and commitment! But our work at MOM is not done, just as the work of building Singapore is not done.
  14. For example, beyond Marina Bay, Singapore will develop the Great Southern Waterfront, not far from where we are today. In 20 years, when MOMers gather to mark our 40th anniversary, Singapore will again be transformed.
  15. What must we do today to help create a future of Singapore we want to see for ourselves and our children? How can the future of work be better than the work of today for the people we care about? 
  16. Everything we do at MOM touches the lives of fellow Singaporeans. Three areas in particular will have far-reaching impact.
  17. First, our people are living longer and enjoy better health.
  18. We must further tap our senior workforce to help businesses. We must also enable people to better prepare for retirement. 
  19. Second, technology is driving industry and business restructuring at speeds never seen before.
  20. We must motivate businesses take full advantage of it to transform and grow. We must also support workers, whether in regular employment or in the “gig” economy, to adapt and win with technology.
  21. Third, Singaporeans have higher aspirations and can contribute more. We must promote heathier, safer, more inclusive and progressive workplaces.
  22. We must also strengthen Human Capital development to improve engagement, realise potential and sustain advancement.
  23. To secure a better future for fellow Singaporeans, MOM must aim to be a bridge to a brighter future of work.
  24. It will take many years to get there.  Furthermore, we must expect bumps along the way. 
  25. Even with the best of plans, surprises can happen. External shocks and crises will test our resilience from time to time.
  26. We must continue to uphold the spirit of tripartism in all that we do. We must be agile and practical in our responses. 
  27. We must also have empathy and understand the aspirations of our people and businesses.
  28. In other words, we must bring our head, hearts and hands to work every single day.
  29. As we mark MOM 20 at the iconic Bay East Bridge, let us cast our eyes into the future and envision a brighter future of work for Singapore.
  30. Let us together, as One MOM team, commit to being a bridge to that future,  so that all the workers and businesses of Singapore can and will have a better life!
  31. Thank you.