The act of volunteering will help to foster a better Singapore where no one is left behind, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (Jan 13). As president of the group of 10 nations this year, Singapur will boost some projects that will strengthen the recovery capacity of the region, to face common threats as terrorism, the cybercrime and climate change.
"Through all these, we aim to make Asean a better home for our future generations", he said.
Lee said this in his speech at the launch of Singapore's chairmanship of Asean 2018 at the Experience Asean carnival at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Friday evening.
"We have been able to engage major countries like the US, China, India and Japan, to pursue mutual cooperation, and to deal with problems which concern us", he told the thousands of people who turned up for the event, including Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo.
"We have a full agenda ahead".
Tracing the grouping's history since 1967, Lee said the current 10-member ASEAN has brought peace, economic growth and prosperity to the people in the region.
Asean's economic community has also opened up many jobs and business opportunities. We support one another through hard times, for example, the Asian Financial Crisis, the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak and natural disasters.
"Singapore companies have benefited".
"And of course, Singaporeans also benefit from the freer flow of goods and services". In our supermarkets we can buy Thai rice, Vietnamese coffee, Filipino dried mangoes, Indonesian keropok and Malaysian Musang King durians, all at very affordable prices especially durians right now.
"And with many direct flights between our countries, millions of Singaporeans travel to other parts of Southeast Asia every year, for work and leisure", he said.
Asean's chairmanship rotates annually among member states, and Singapore last chaired Asean in 2007.