Keynote Address By Minister Of State For Finance And Transport Mrs Lim Hwee Hua At The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) International Student Symposium 2005 On 4 August 2005 (continued)04 Aug 2005
30 Rather, we must ensure that we have enough people with the relevant skills sets and networks as we move into a knowledge-based and globalised economy. Firstly, this will mean raising the educational and skills profile of our populace. Secondly, we must also attract, retain and integrate talented foreigners into our society, many of whom come from Asia. The presence of foreigners in Singapore can be fully exploited to build linkages that enhance our business relationships and human ties with their home country.
31 Thirdly, we must not forget that there is also a large pool of Singaporeans working and living overseas. There are also foreigners who have lived and worked here before, who feel some sort of attachment and fondness for Singapore. We have a golden opportunity to expand our human capital repository by reaching out to the talents of overseas Singaporeans and these "friends of Singapore". They form a vast pool of ideas, information and resources within an enlarged knowledge hub which we can tap on value add to the growth of Singapore. For a small country, they are our "hinterland".
32 Lastly, as we seek to capitalise on the rise of Asia, we must acknowledge that the rising tide does not lift all boats equally. We must continue to provide assistance to the bottom quintile, especially the less-skilled or the lower educated, to help them adapt to the changes in the labour market. Social safety nets will be available to provide financial assistance to those who are coping with economic restructuring and ensure that their children are not left behind. Those who are willing and able to work will be given chances to retrain and find jobs to support themselves and their families.
33 As we witness the transformation of Asia from within, we must position ourselves to respond effectively to the changing dynamics. We have all the attributes needed to ride on the new opportunities. What is needed is for us to focus our energies, embrace diversity, and foster an environment that is conducive for value creation, innovation and entrepreneurship.
34 The Asian growth story is in its opening chapters and many challenges lie ahead, but if we remain nimble and resilient, we can make the most of the possibilities that lie ahead, and become a dynamic leading city within a region that is a force to be reckoned with.
35 On this note, I thank you and wish you a fruitful symposium.