Young Singaporeans not hungry enough: SM Goh

Fann Sim
SM Goh talks about the role of young Singaporeans in the upcoming election. (AFP Photo)
SM Goh talks about the role of young Singaporeans in the upcoming election. (AFP Photo)

People's Action Party (PAP) veteran Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has described young Singaporeans as "not hungry" enough compared to their peers from other countries, such as China.

The minister said this phenomenon is largely due to the fact that Singapore has been so successful in the past few decades.

Speaking to a group of young Singaporeans at Singapore Polytechnic's Graduates Guild on Friday evening, he compared Singapore to China and said that Singaporean youths are too comfortable these days and have too many choices.

"In China, that man has no other job to go to. There are 600 million people competing with him for jobs. In our case, because we have done so well, every year we are creating 50,000 jobs. We only have 20 to 30 thousand inflow into the workforce, people have choice. So what is the solution?"

Mr Goh went on to talk about solutions the government can provide to fix the "lack of hunger".

"Well, maybe just a bad dose of government and you have unemployment for five, six years and Singaporeans will feel hungry! Do you want that?" he said.

"(The) answer is no! Because it's our job to make sure that we continue to grow and if we do so, they got a choice. What can we do? We all have a problem because people have a choice! ... Then you have to go back to productivity, to paying them well and so on," he added.

The minister also urged young Singaporeans to vote carefully for the country and for their own future in the upcoming elections.

"We are now preparing for a fourth-generation leadership to look after Singapore... This leadership transition is even more crucial than previous transitions," said Mr Goh.

Senior Minister Goh also confirmed the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Heng Swee Keat will be joining the People's Action Party.

He posted on Facebook page MParader that "Heng Swee Keat is stepping down as (Managing Director) but not stepping away from MAS. He has been appointed board member."

He also said Heng had the potential to be a Minister and core member of the 4th Generation team.

Elsewhere, at separate events, two Ministers also came out in support of embattled young PAP candidate, Tin Pei Ling, as well as 32-year old Vikram Nair.

PAP veteran and Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan hopes that the public can give the young faces a chance to prove themselves.

"I think it will be wrong for us to be ageist, either against old or young. Look at the candidates in their own right," Mr Khaw said.

Meanwhile Minister of Information, Community and the Arts, Lui Tuck Yew, said that the the most important thing is to "stand fast to your beliefs and your set of values," according to Channel News Asia.

"Yes, pay attention by all means to the feedback that is given by others, particularly if it is constructive feedback on how we can improve ourselves - we all need to do that, not just the new candidates," he added.

"But at the end of the day, we must also recognise that there will be some who will support us very strongly, there will be detractors, and we just need to make sure that we focus on serving the residents and doing our best for the future of Singapore."

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