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Opening Address by Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister, Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Transport at Redas 50TH Anniversary on Thursday, 27 August 2009 at 10.00 AM at The Pertapis Children's Home

27 Aug 2009

Mr. Simon Cheong,
President REDAS,

Mr. Mohd Gazali Mohd Arshad,
President of PERTAPIS Children's Home,

Mr. Chia Boon Pin,
Chairman, REDAS 50th Anniversary Organising Committee,

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


1. Good morning. It is an honour for me to be here with all of you as the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS) commemorates its journey of 50 years of success as an organisation.

2. This is an important and exciting occasion as REDAS officially adopts PERTAPIS Children's Home as one of its benefactors. Although, REDAS' 50th anniversary celebration comes amidst uncertain economic times, I must commend REDAS' efforts and outreach to help the less fortunate in our society.

Building a Home for all

3. Significantly, it has been 50 years since Singapore has achieved self-governance. Throughout this period, there has been a close symbiotic relationship between government and the private sector in building a place where Singaporeans can work, live and play. We have been working together in the rejuvenation of our housing estates, the preservation of our heritage buildings and in providing more choices to homebuyers through schemes such as Design, Build and Sell (DBSS). We are working together to transform Singapore into a city of beautiful gardens and waters. More recently we are working together to ensure that development is carried out in a sustainable manner through the use of green building technologies. All these could not be achieved without the close coordination between developers and the various government agencies.

4. This has not gone unnoticed. Our developers have won accolades abroad and our building standards serve as a benchmark for others. Despite the worldwide slump in real estate values, our real estate continues to hold its own. The high quality of our urban living environment has encouraged many to consider making Singapore their home. Cities become `magnets' for talent when there is stability in the political and economic environment, high quality infrastructure and connectivity and recreational vibrancy.

5. Even as the Government and private sector move forward to develop the hardware that will make Singapore a distinctive global city, we must not neglect the "heartware" of our living environment that will make Singapore an endearing home. As a nation, we want our people to feel a sense of belonging and rootedness, and to regard Singapore as the best place to raise our families.

Towards a More Humane Society

6. Progress alone will not be meaningful if institutions ignore the society within which they exist. Companies have a critical role to play in building sustainable communities and providing vital support for the less privileged. Companies that embark on giving back to the community often find that it is beneficial all round.

7. As a community, we have a responsibility to look out for the less fortunate in our midst. We must ensure that the low-income and other less-privileged groups of Singaporeans are not left behind as we progress. The current economic conditions will certainly strain the social fabric of our society. However, by banding together and striving towards a common objective, we will be able to weather these tough times and emerge stronger, more resilient and closer to each other. Businesses, social entrepreneurs, individuals all have a role to play in supporting social causes and helping other Singaporeans - be it in volunteering your time or being generous with your giving.

8. In this respect, I am heartened to note that PERTAPIS has benefited from REDAS' donations through the years - a mini-bus in 2002, a cash commitment of $12,000 this year for the Children's Home and now a fresh coat of paint for their Multi-Purpose Hall. REDAS's generosity and commitment has helped PERTAPIS to step up concerted efforts in managing its 5 welfare homes. Its homes now serve a total of 420 residents and 300 poor and needy non-residential incumbents. This gesture of goodwill has provided hope and fulfillment to children from broken families, young girls and women in danger of moral breakdown, substance abusers, the aged and destitute as well as the poor and needy. In addition, PERTAPIS has initiated a social enterprise programme to provide employment opportunities to former offenders, single mothers and others. As most of these programmes have been insufficiently funded, I would like to call on institutions or corporations to generously support these and other similar efforts, to make a difference to the strength and vitality of our society.


9. This is a good milestone to reflect on our achievements and renew our commitments to the future. May I congratulate REDAS and all its members on its 50th anniversary celebrations.