Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said Saturday that Singapore should remain open and welcome diversity, even as the Republic faces challenges brought about by globalisation, technology and extremism.
Speaking to some 600 community and grassroots leaders at the National Community Engagement Programme (CEP) Dialogue , DPM Teo said successfully overcoming the challenges of diversity will let Singapore connect with the great growing centres in a more cosmopolitan world.
"We have put in decades of hard work to weave this social fabric, but it will not take very much to tear apart the trust and mutual respect that we have developed over the years.
"This challenge has become greater as we socialise a new wave of migrants who have come to our shores," he said.
Mr Teo also sketched out how the CEP will help Singapore remain a strong and cohesive society while facing these challenges.
He said that while Singapore will continue to welcome people who can Contribute to the nation, extra attention is needed to facilitate new immigrants so that they can integrate into society quicker.
"Many (immigrants) have come here because they value what we value - the well-integrated, harmonious, multi-racial society in Singapore.
"However, Singaporeans can also do our part to make them feel more welcome, and to help them imbibe the values which have made us strong as a society," he said.
DPM Teo also touched on the issues of technology and extremism in his speech.
He said that while technology was useful, it may amplify extreme views which may only be in the minority and draw unnecessary attention to differences.
Similarly, extremism could also be dealt with if there are strong community partnerships to help reduce opportunities for it to take hold of groups or individuals.
Ministers leading the clusters of PA, MCYS, MICA and MOM - Mr Lim Swee Say, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Mr Chan Chun Sing and Mr Tan Chuan Jin were also present at the event.
Together with DPM Teo, they chaired five simultaneous dialogues with participants to discuss and share experiences on sustaining CEP efforts.
Later, DPM Teo launched a book titled "Close Watch - A Nation's Resolve to Secure Singapore".