Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/23/2013 01:53 | By Channel NewsAsia

Future of Singapore in the hands of babies: ESM Goh

Future of Singapore in the hands of babies: ESM Goh

Future of Singapore in the hands of babies: ESM Goh

SINGAPORE: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said babies must be celebrated, expectant mothers pampered and mothers honoured.

That’s why the government came up with a comprehensive and generous package of perks to make the job of having babies and raising children more of a joy than a burden.

Mr Goh, who’s a Member of Parliament (MP) for Marine Parade GRC, shared his thoughts in a post on his MParader Facebook page on Tuesday, a day after the government unveiled perks such as housing priority for parents, paternity leave and a bigger baby bonus.

He also wants to see an environment that’s more pro—baby and pro—family. These include private areas in shopping centres for mothers to nurse and change napkins for babies, as well as creches for toddlers in office buildings.

Mr Goh recalled the baby shows during his time as a young MP in Marine Parade in the 1970’s. He said parents would show off their babies while volunteer doctors and nurses would examine the babies for their health and everyone was excited about the event.

He said community clubs could bring back such baby shows to remind Singaporeans that the future of the country is in the hands of babies.

Also writing on Facebook about the fresh set of perks, MP for East Coast GRC Jessica Tan said she’s glad the feedback and recommendations presented to the government by the People’s Action Party’s Women’s Wing in August 2012 were taken into consideration.

These recommendations were based on the feedback and ideas shared through dialogues with women from professional groups, women’s organisations, polytechnics and universities.

They revolve around three approaches — make it easier for young couples to start families earlier, reduce the uncertainties relating to the costs of conceiving and raising children, and promote joint responsibility in parenting.

Ms Tan said the measures alone will not, on their own, be able to persuade more Singaporeans to start and grow families if they have no intrinsic desire to do so.

She stressed the need to promote the value of family life and renew society’s enthusiasm and support for families.

— CNA/ck

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