Parliamentary Speeches

Debate on President's Address - Speech by Parliamentary Secretary Mr Amrin Amin

Published: 25 January 2016

Madam Speaker,


We live at a time of immense challenge and change to keep us safe and secure, harmonious, and prosperous.


2.  I will cover two main topics in my speech today:


a)     First, true security requires strong external and internal borders. This can only be achieved through the unity of hearts, minds and wills.


b)     Second, a prosperous, harmonious society must ensure social mobility.


3.  From our early days, we got our fundamentals right. The late President Yusof Ishak said in his speech in 1965 at the opening of the First Parliament of sovereign Singapore:


“An industrious and talented people striving to secure their future will surge forward to prosperity and strength if they are given honest administration and effective leadership.”


4.  Here we are 51 years later, an industrious and talented people united behind a government with the people, for the people. 


5.  We have exciting plans for the future, charting our course for the next five years and laying foundations for SG100.




6.  Madam Speaker, our fundamentals have to remain strong. Our plans for the future require stability and good economic growth.  We are facing the future from a position of strength – with a strong military and Home Team, a dynamic economy and cohesive people.


7.  But for all our progress in the last 50 years, many daunting challenges remain. Our challenges remain essentially the same. I will focus on stability today.


8.  We remain a small state with a multiracial and religious people, in a turbulent world. Our stability is the result of our unity amidst our diversity of racial and religious backgrounds.


9.  But this unity is fragile. It requires constant nurturing and sustained effort. It is a continuing and necessary work-in-progress, a responsibility we all share.




10. Madam Speaker, a crisis such as a terrorist attack can tear at our unity if we are not careful. In the past few months, Beirut, Paris, Istanbul and Jakarta were attacked by terrorists. Tomorrow, it could be anywhere, Singapore even. The recent arrest of 27 radicalised Bangladeshi foreign workers in Singapore is a sobering reminder.


11. I was happy to hear in President Tony Tan’s Address, a call for us to stay strong and united especially when others seek to sow fear and create division.


12. Divisive forces that threaten Singapore are not new. In 1965, President Yusof Ishak spoke about a potent, disruptive group – the Communists who played on communal heart strings.


13. Today, we face another potent, disruptive group – extremists and terrorists motivated by religious extremism. They seek to spread their twisted ideologies and ferment chaos by exploiting our diversity, and sow fear and discord.


14. Madam Speaker, I support the plans to enhance the safety and security in Singapore.


15. Our borders are our first line of defence and need to be secured. We are working hard at that. Tightening checks at our borders, increasing CCTV surveillance in public areas, and leveraging on technology and upgrading weapons.


16. But it is not just physical borders. Internally, we have to strengthen our mental and emotional borders to ensure they are impenetrable to invidious elements. The key entry points that can tear our social fabric are our hearts and minds.


17. If we learned anything from how we fought the communists in the 1960s, it is that legislation, policies and weapons alone are not enough. We have to involve the community, we have to win hearts and minds. We have to stand as one united people.


18. In September 11, 2001, I was in New York as an exchange student at Columbia University. That fateful day, I remember the devastating terrorist attack on The World Trade Centre. I remember the horror and shock everyone felt, standing on the streets.


19. But more than that, I remember the amazing generosity and rich spirit of Americans who came together to comfort one another. Americans who stood shoulder to shoulder on the streets to cheer the first responders and the tribute sites which sprang up all over America.


20. But it was not all rosy.


21. I also remember the sense of fear, people running out of subways and buildings due to false alarms, people exacting revenge on Muslim Americans and those who resemble Muslims, in particular the Sikhs who wear turbans, and vandalism of Muslim-owned shops.


22. Madam Speaker, even as we stay vigilant against terrorism, we cannot rule out the possibility of an attack in Singapore. The terrorists will keep trying. Even with our best efforts, there is no guarantee that they will never succeed. We have to get it right every single time, all the time. While the terrorists only have to get through once, at any time.


23. Our security agencies will step up their readiness and responses to prevent, deter and deal with an attack.


24. We will work closely with private and public building owners to strengthen the protection of our hard and soft targets.


25. But at the very heart of it is the community. We have to involve every single one of us, our people, in our efforts to better protect ourselves from a terrorist attack and its aftermath. Keeping Singapore safe is our shared responsibility.


26. Should the unthinkable happen and a terrorist attack happens, we have to make absolutely sure that the terrorists’ agenda to create chaos and sow discord does not prevail. Not ever! Brick and mortar can be repaired and rebuilt easily. Fractures in our community cannot be fixed so readily. 


27. The bleak, dark message of extremists contrasts markedly with a vision of our Singapore, sunny island by sea, a land of opportunity, a beacon of hope, a magnet for promise and a caring, compassionate society.




28. Madam Speaker, a crisis can tear our society apart. But so can success, if the fruits of success are not equally accessible to all.


29. We are a meritocratic society. This is a hallmark of Singapore. Where we start in life does not dictate where we will end up.


30. It is our task to ensure that our society provides opportunities for upward mobility.


31. For Singaporeans who want to improve themselves, improve their skills and education – support has been and will continue to be given through a good foundation in our schools, technical institutions and continuous education through SkillsFuture.


32. Our people must know that the stars they strive for are within reach. And if they need a little boost to help them cover that extra bit of distance, there is help given. Rich or poor, strong or weak, academically inclined or not. No one gets left behind.


33. An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”


34. This is not a sprint. This is a marathon and we are in it for the long haul. Together. As one united Singapore.




35. We saw how Singaporeans came together this past year in happiness and in sorrow. We mourned for our late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and celebrated our nation’s success at SG50 celebrations, SEA Games and Asean Para Games.


36. From fighting communism, economic recessions to SARS.


37. Crisis after crisis, generations of Singaporeans stood as one people. Our strong resolve was never in doubt. We built this country together. We will keep it thriving together. And we will continue standing as one people. 


38. Madam Speaker, allow me to speak in Malay before concluding in English.






39. Masyarakat Melayu di Singapura telah meraih banyak kemajuan.


40. Baru-baru ini saya bertemu dengan pelajar dari Institut Teknologi Singapura (SIT) dan Politeknik Singapura di satu sesi perbincangan.


41. Saya bangga dengan kematangan dan keyakinan mereka dalam mengutarakan pandangan tentang berbagai isu - dari perumahan, pekerjaan dan keselamatan negara.


42. Jurusan yang mereka ceburi sangat menarik –  kejuteraan infrastruktur, teknologi maklumat dan perhubungan, sistem aero-angkasa (aerospace), rekaan permainan elektronik (game design) dan kejuteraan kimia.


43. Masa depan masyarakat kita sangat cerah dengan peluang pendidikan yang luas.


44. Puan Speaker, saya ingat perbualan saya dengan Mohammed Fahmy Rosly, 26 tahun. Beliau adalah Pelajar Cemerlang Bestari 4PM tahun 2015.


45. Fahmy dahulu pernah keciciran dalam pelajaran. Namun beliau berubah semasa menjalani perkhidmatan negara dan setelah perkhidmatan negara, Fahmy pulang ke bangku sekolah di ITE.


46. Pada mulanya, Fahmy beritahu saya beliau berasa agak kekok kerana ramai rakan sekolahnya di ITE lebih muda darinya. Tetapi azam dan tekad Fahmy untuk belajar kuat.


47. Usahanya berhasil apabila Fahmy berjaya meraih mata GPA sempurna empat per empat dan muncul sebagai antara pelajar Melayu/Islam terbaik di ITE.


48. Beliau sekarang menuntut di Politeknik Singapura dalam jurusan kejuruteraan marin.


49. Seorang lagi anak watan Kapten Muhammad Azhar Said, 37 tahun. Beliau seorang pegawai Pasukan Pertahanan Awam (SCDF).


50. Beliau Berjaya meraih anugerah kadet terbaik kursus pegawai komander. Kapten Azhar mulakan kerjaya berpangkat Sarjan. Dengan kerja keras, Azhar dinaikkan pangkat secara bertahap, hingga berpeluang meraih ijazah kejuruteraan dengan kepujian kelas pertama dari Universiti Glasgow, atas biasiswa SCDF.


51. Laluan kejayaan Fahmy dan Azhar mencerminkan keazaman, kegigihan dan semangat ingin belajar sepanjang hayat. Inilah semangat waja anak Melayu kita.


52. Dan juga inilah Singapura yang kita idamkan di mana peluang untuk mempertingkatan kemahiran, tidak kira usia, terus ada. Inilah matlamat SkillsFuture untuk membekalkan masyarakat kita dengan kemahiran di dunia yang kian mencabar.


53. Semakin sering kita dengar anak Melayu mencapai keputusan cemerlang, baik dari peringkat PSLE, hingga ke ijazah dan doktor falsafah.


54. Semangat berjuang ini tidak sahaja menyerlah di bidang akademik, malahan juga di bidang sukan dan seni. Prestasi cemerlang kita ini membuktikan yang kita mampu berdiri sama taraf dengan yang lain.




55. Bakat anak muda bukan sahaja bersinar di Singapura tetapi juga di negara lain.


56. Sufie Rashid dinobatkan sebagai juara Akademi Fantasia di Malaysia. Semasa pertandingan akhir itu, beliau demam panas dengan suhu 39 darjah celsius. Namun, persembahan Sufie begitu hangat.


57. Pengamat seni Khairuddin Hori, 40 tahun, baru-baru ini dilantik Penolong Pengarah Program Artistik Palais de Tokyo di Paris. Ini adalah contoh yang baik - semangat anak muda Melayu kita yang yakin diri, yang mampu bersaing di persada dunia dan mengharumkan nama bangsa dan negara.


58. Di bidang sukan pula, saya masih teringat Nur Alfian yang memenangi pingat emas bagi acara pencak silat di Sukan SEA.


59. Walaupun kakinya cedera, beliau tidak putus asa dan terus berjuang. Linangan air mata semasa lagu Majulah Singapura berkumandang sangat menyentuh hati. Tekad berusaha gigih dan semangat Singapura hidup dan bernyala di sanubari masyarakat kita. Ya, kita anak Singapura!




60. Puan Speaker, kejayaan masyarakat tidak terjadi dengan sendirinya dan secara sekelip mata saja. Kejayaan ini hasil kerja kuat kita serta sokongan padu masyarakat atas dasar pemerintah yang memberi peluang dan menjamin keselamatan, kemakmuran, keharmonian dan kemajuan negara.


61. Perpaduan masyarakat tidak boleh diambil ringan. Kita mampu melaksanakan amalan sebagai Muslim dengan tenang tanpa gangguan oleh sesiapapun.


62. Ini berbeza dengan sesetengah negara asing di mana penduduk Islam menghadapi gangguan daripada jiran-jiran, teman sekerja, hanya kerana mereka beragama Islam.


63. Ini kerana diburukkan oleh ideologi pengganas yang bertopengkan nama suci Islam untuk memporak-perandakan negara.


64. Islamofobia akan memecah-belahkan masyarakat kita. Kita harus melindungi negara kita daripada berlaku sedemikian dengan mengamalkan pendirian yang moderat, sesuai dengan masyarakat berbilang bangsa and kaum Singapura. Kita harus turut serta menyebarkan mesej ihsan, kedamaian, dan saling menghormati sesama insan, tidak kira agama dan bangsa.


65. Masih ada banyak cabaran yang dihadapi masyarakat kita. Selain cabaran ancaman pengganasan dan fahaman radikal, ada juga cabaran sosial seperti dadah dan jenayah, dan kadar pencapaian yang belum lagi memenuhi potensi masyarakat kita.  Kita boleh menangani cabaran ini bersama.


66. Setiap lapisan masyarakat, berganding bahu bersama pemerintah, bagi memastikan perpaduan masyarakat terus terpelihara.


67. Ini adalah tanggung jawab kita bersama.


68. Puan Speaker, cabaran itu memang banyak. Tetapi kata orang, anak Melayu pantang dicabar. 


69. Pertarungan hari ini di medan ekonomi, di institusi pengajian, di arena sukan dan pentas seni. Persaingan sengit, tetapi kita tidak mudah gementar.


70. Hari ini kita dibekalkan dengan lebih berpendidikan dan lebih kemahiran. Agar kita menyahut cabaran masa mendatang dengan bijak dan tabah. 


71. Masyarakat Melayu kita kaya dengan budi pekertinya, bahasa yang indah lagi tersusun, dan semangat juang yang hebat.


72. Generasi ini akan memastikan masyarakat kita akan terus duduk sama rendah, diri sama tinggi dengan masyarakat lain di Singapura dan di persada dunia.


73. Dengan satu suara, masyarakat Melayu akan bersatu, dengan semangat yang luhur dan baru, sama-sama kita berseru - Majulah Singapura!






74. Madam Speaker, Singapore today is never resting on its laurels, tomorrow will be better. A determined people moving ahead with determination to claim our place in history, to build a truly remarkable Singapore.


75. Madam Speaker, President Tan’s Address echoes a familiar call – a call to action for Singaporeans to unite and renew our hopes for a brighter Singapore.


76. This is a call familiar to generations of Singaporeans across time.


77. From the Samsui women and the dock-side coolies who toiled under the sun, to our tireless pioneers who built this nation.  From our children in schools and madrasahs, our men and women defending our nation, to leaders the likes of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Generation after generation, year after year. There was never a doubt – “Singapore will survive”.


78. Madam Speaker, we will build an inclusive home here in our Singapore, a Singapore for all ages and races – people from all walks. Many hearts with one beat – the Singapore heartbeat.


79. We will renew and strengthen our vibrant economy using the best minds in Singapore.


We will perfect our living environment with our hands.


We will nurture a caring society with our hearts.


And we will protect and defend our Singapore with our lives.


80. Madam Speaker, I support the motion.


Managing Security Threats
Community Engagement