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Speech by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance, at FunTasia, on 26 April 2008, 6.30pm, Singapore Chinese Garden

26 Apr 2008

Mr Bobby Chin,
Chairman, Tote Board,

Mr Tan Soo Nan,
Chief Executive, Tote Board,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2 I am delighted to be part of this FunTasia event jointly organised by the Tote Board and Singapore Pools. This year marks Tote Board's 20th year in existence and Singapore Pools' 40th anniversary. They are both important national institutions, which have together donated more than $4 billion to various causes in Singapore over the years. Today they showcase some of the fruits of their good work, and also come together to thank the community, partners, volunteers and staff for their support through the years.

3 The Tote Board, now with a fresh new look after re-branding itself, has played a crucial role in building the community and the Singapore society. A key example is the Singapore Totalisator Board Social Service Fund administered by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). This Fund provides grants to Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) for strategic social service programmes, as well as for their start-up and capital funding. The Fund also helps fund the operating costs of the Community Chest. This Fund gave out $32 mil in 2006, and has committed to giving out another $126 million over the three years from 2007 to 2009.

4 Going forward, the Tote Board will also be playing a significant role in helping to enhance the living environment and community spaces in Singapore. Three of the more significant examples of its funding support will be for the Gardens by the Bay [$420 mil over 4 years], ABC Waters [$200 mil over 6 years] and Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve [$50 mil over 6 years]. Tote Board is donating about $700 mil over the next 6 years to these three projects alone.

5 The Tote Board's contributions complement Government funding in all these initiatives. It is an effective way in which the surpluses of Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club (both wholly owned by the Tote Board) can be channeled back into society and put to use for the benefit of Singaporeans. Whether in giving hope to former prisoners through Yellow Ribbon, in spreading the message of healthy living across the island, or in bringing new vibrancy into our community spaces, the Tote Board is helping to make Singapore a stronger nation and a better place for all its citizens.

6 I want to congratulate the Tote Board on a successful 20 years. I wish the Tote Board and all its partners every success as we strive to achieve many more good years for all our citizens.