Our values critical to whether we can tackle next crisis: DPM Heng
Whether Singapore can tackle the next crisis after the coronavirus will depend critically on the values of its people, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
In his round-up speech yesterday after Parliament debated the Supplementary Budget, Mr Heng said he was grateful to be able to tap the "deep reservoirs of strength and resourcefulness" of Singaporeans, beyond the nation's financial reserves.
"Without the strength, resourcefulness, trust of our people, all the right measures won't be worth the dollar tag on them," he said.
Healthcare workers, Home Team officers, cleaners and other unsung heroes have carried out their duties with commitment and courage, he said, adding that the outpouring of support for these front-line workers was moving.
Singapore's national stock of resilience is made up of individual stocks of resilience, added Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.
"Ultimately, the long-drawn fight against the virus will be won by us standing together as one united people," he told the House. "We must each do our part, this is absolutely serious, a matter of life and death."
Mr Heng added he was heartened that Singaporeans and MPs have shown strong values and commitment to the nation's future. He said that several Singaporeans, while touched by the use of reserves, have said the amounts should be put back later so future generations have funds for the next crisis.
Likewise, MPs also urged against spending in an "unbridled fashion" from the reserves.
"Indeed, as we draw down on our reserves to tackle this generational crisis of unprecedented scale, we must uphold our responsibility to steward our reserves properly in our time, for the benefit of our future generations," he said.
Mr Heng said that it has been an extremely hectic and emotional period for him, other Cabinet ministers, and his staff.
"We know what is at stake. Our lives, our livelihoods, our loved ones. Our home and nation," he added.
Noting that MOF officers are often called "bean-counters", Mr Heng said: "We count, because you count.
"We count, to protect our people and our home."