Opening Remarks by Minister Indranee Rajah at the 30th Exemplary Mother Award Presentation Ceremony
Datuk Dr Mohd Hasbi Abu Bakar, President of Jamiyah Singapore
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my pleasure to join all of you today as we celebrate the 30th Exemplary Mother Award and the 5th Exemplary Young Mother Award. These Awards celebrate and honour mothers who have all made exceptional effort to raise their families. It is also an opportunity for us to recognise the profound influence of mothers on future generations.
Mothers are our role models
Mothers are role models to their children and the wider community, demonstrating core family values of love, care and concern, and commitment. These values are the foundation of a strong and compassionate society. Our families are typically our first line of care and support. Within each family, mothers play an invaluable role nurturing and guiding their children, shaping them into responsible and engaged members of society. Many of the award finalists today such as Mdm Meharoon, Mdm Zhang Shupei and Mdm Guo Nannan, are sources of inspiration for those around them, not just in expertly juggling work and caring for their families, but also actively giving back to the wider community through organising community events, volunteering with disadvantaged households and advocating for those with special needs.
Everyone can play their part to support families
The parenthood journey, although meaningful, is not easy, and each of us will face different challenges within our own families. Some of the finalists – Mdm Hazizah and Mdm Erma, have faced personal health adversities, while others such as Mdm Siti, Mdm Rabiah, and Mdm Rilla have had to overcome other challenges. During such trying times, strong support from those around us and the wider community helps us to continue believing in ourselves, and spurs us on to persevere through life’s challenges.
At the same time, what we are doing in Singapore is building a Singapore that is Made For Families. Building up a Singapore Made For Families requires commitment and effort from the whole of society:
· Employers need to make a concerted effort to foster a family-friendly workplace culture and implement workplace practices that supports their employees while fulfilling their business objectives;
· I encourage co-workers to support your colleagues when they need to adjust their work arrangements or take leave to attend to family needs; and
· Community partners also play an important role in supporting and strengthening families through various programmes and initiatives. Jamiyah Singapore’s initiatives to support underprivileged families, such as a community food bank, welfare homes, free medical and legal clinics, as well as education and counselling services complement the Government’s efforts to support families and contribute to making Singapore a place where families can thrive.
At the same time, even as we recognise the important role of mothers and the sacrifices that many mothers have had to make for their families, we want fathers to be more involved as well. To support paternal involvement, we will be doubling Government-Paid Paternity Leave for eligible working fathers of children born on or after 1 January 2024. Since the introduction of Government-Paid Paternity Leave, take-up rates have been increasing, from 25% in 2013 to more than half of fathers today. I urge fathers to make greater use of these and other parental leave provisions, and for employers and co-workers to be supportive of fathers who wish to care for their children and wives.
A Singapore Made For Families
With everyone doing their part to build a Singapore Made For Families, we can create a culture that celebrates and champions family life, and provide Singaporeans with an environment where children are supported, families are strengthened, and no one is left behind.
I also want to congratulate all nominees and award recipients. I want to applaud them, for their unwavering perseverance and resilience, and dedication towards your families and the wider community. And to Jamiyah Singapore, thank you for inviting me to be a part of this meaningful occasion. I look forward to your continued contributions towards supporting and celebrating mothers, as well as your broader efforts to serve underprivileged families.
Let me conclude by saying a few words in Malay. Hari ini, kita meraikan Anugerah Ibu Teladan yang ketiga puluh dan Anugerah Ibu Teladan Muda yang kelima. Anugerah-anugerah ini memberi penghargaan kepada ibu-ibu atas usaha luar biasa mereka mengasuh keluarga mereka. Pemerintah komited dalam menyokong keluarga-keluarga dan telah pun melaksanakan langkah-langkah komprehensif. Namun, kita boleh lakukan lebih banyak lagi. Menerusi inisiatif ‘Melakar Hala Tuju Singapura’ atau Forward SG, kami memandang ke hadapan bagi meneliti perubahan yang perlu dibuat untuk menjadikan Singapura sebuah negara yang mengutamakan keluarga. Kami juga perlukan kerjasama semua pihak – majikan, rakan sekerja dan rakan-rakan masyarakat agar memainkan peranan mereka.
(Today, we celebrate the 30th Exemplary Mother Award and the 5th Exemplary Young Mother Award, which honours mothers who made exceptional effort to raise their families. The Government is committed to supporting families and has put in place a set of comprehensive measures for families. However, we need to go beyond this. Through the Forward Singapore exercise, we have been looking ahead to examine the shifts needed to make Singapore a place that puts families first. We will need all stakeholders in society – employers, colleagues, and community partners to play their part as well.)
Terima kasih. Thank you for having me today.