SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it is important for couples to have confidence in Singapore’s future and ultimately want Singapore to be the best place to settle down and raise children.
He was speaking at the Lunar New Year dinner at his Teck Ghee ward on Saturday evening.
He said: "Here, your children will get good education, will have good opportunities, that here we can build a home together. A home where we feel Singaporean, a home where we can have opportunities, a home where we can help look after one another, and make tomorrow better than today."
The government recently announced a Marriage and Parenthood package that aims to help Singaporeans settle down and raise children.
However, Mr Lee noted that parents are worried about childcare arrangements.
He said: "It’s not easy because a lot of couples now, both parents are working and cannot always rely on grandparents to look after their kids because the grandparents may be older, may no longer be in good health, may not have the strength to take care of the grandchildren anymore. So, we need infant care and childcare facilities."
Mr Lee said building more childcare facilities will take time. He also said the centres can be set up quickly, but good teachers take time to train.
He added what is most important is to make it easier for parents to spend time with their children.
Mr Lee said: "So, we have paternity leave, we have shared parental leave, and these are big steps forward. We are also promoting good work—life balance, flexible work arrangements, and I think if we can do that, then that’s the best hong bao which parents can give their children — our love and attention. I hope these measures will encourage couples to marry and to have more children."
Mr Lee said he is confident that Singapore can be transformed into a better place and next generation will do its part to improve it.
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