Updated: 09/05/2014 18:13

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced plans to make the Singapore Zoo "bigger and better"



Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced plans to make the Singapore Zoo "bigger and better"

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced plans to make the Singapore Zoo in Mandai "bigger and better". 

He revealed this in the hour-long "Ask the Prime Minister" forum on Channel NewsAsia, in which he addressed questions from the public. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed that he considered announcing plans about the improved Mandai Zoo during the National Day Rally, but decided to save it for another occasion. 

He described what's in store for the area. 

"There is space outside of the nature reserve. We have an old orchid plantation, we have an old fruit orchard. They are not used now, it's a place where land is available. I think it's next to the nature reserve. If you can extend the zoo to those parts, I think it will be very interesting."

Mr Lee said we can expect to see some developments by 2020. 

During the rest of the "live" forum, PM Lee touched on bread and butter issues as well as social issues. 

He said that if the Singapore economy can grow 2-3 per cent a year over the next 10 years, it's something he'll be happy with. 

And he outlined how Singaporeans can contribute to this growth. 

"After you have graduated, don't think that that's the end of your learning. Because that's really the beginning of a journey."

Mr Lee also addressed the rising cost of living. 

He said while the Consumer Price Index went up by about a third in the 10 years to 2013, earnings have more than doubled in that period. 

So he said a graduate today is better off than his counterparts of 10 years ago. 

But Mr Lee noted that expectations have also changed. 

Besides that, PM Lee addressed the issue of allowing people to withdraw up to 20% of their CPF savings when they reach the retirement age. 

When asked if it would help retirees or create a greater social burden, PM Lee said it would do both. 

"Some of them may well have urgent needs for money for one reason or other. I think it's reasonable to let them touch some part of the CPF. But there is a risk that if we do this too liberally, when he grows old and he has no CPF of his own, somebody else will have to support him.We want to make sure everyone has got at least the basic provided for in the CPF. Which is why I said, if you want to, you can take out 20% from the CPF when you are 65 and beyond or later. But if you dont want to, you dont have to."

During the forum, PM Lee received several requests to extend the re-employment age so that people could work till they're 67, but he said it would take a few years to achieve this. 

Separately, when asked how to tackle the increase in the number of degree holders who cannot find jobs suited for their education, 

PM Lee said students should ensure they take up degrees that are in demand, as not every certificate would be able to guarantee a job. 

He reiterated that the government is trying to level the playing field for non-graduates and graduates. 

Over the last two weeks, Singaporeans submitted more than 700 questions for the Prime Minister.


Photo:
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the "Ask the Prime Minister" live discussion forum on Thursday (Sep 4).( Photo credit Channel NewsAsia)

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