National Day Message: PM Lee eyes preschool revamps, all out war against diabetes

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has identified three longer-term issues that would benefit Singapore in the future.

Singapore National Day
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers his 2017 National Day Message in Bay East Garden at Gardens by the Bay. PM Office

As Singapore celebrates its 52nd years of independence, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has identified three longer-term issues that would benefit Singapore in the future if addressed and enforced.

On his National Day Message posted on YouTube, PM Lee cited preschool, the war on diabetes, and a Smart Nation as key issues that need to be focused on by the city-state. "These will enable us to start right, stay healthy and work smart," he stated.

Firstly, the prime minister stated that the government has been steadfast in investing in preschools. PM Lee promised to create more preschool places, raise the quality of child centres, and upgrade the profession of preschool teachers.

"More and better preschools will also take a major load off parents. Parents will have peace of mind whilst they working knowing that their kids are in good hands," he said.

Meanwhile, in a bid to introduce a healthy lifestyle to Singaporeans, PM Lee urged citizens to do their part in fighting diabetes.

"Almost a third of those over the age of 60 have diabetes. Over time, its consequences are severe — blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, amputated limbs," he said.

PM Lee pointed out that the fight is not just about establishing more hospital facilities and offering better treatment. Instead, he stressed that it also depends crucially on personal choices and lifestyles.

Lastly, the prime minister stated that Singapore has to keep an eye on global trends on building a Smart Nation including the building sensor networks to enhance public security, analysing big data to improve public services, and the support for a cashless society.

He said Singapore has to catch up and get ahead of other technology powerhouses across the globe.

"We have a natural advantage: we are highly connected and digitally-literate society. We even have more smartphones than people," the prime minister said.

He added, "We want to make use of IT to create opportunities and jobs to make Singapore an outstanding place to live, work, and play." PM Lee said he will elaborate more on these longer-term issues in the upcoming National Day Rally.