SPEECH BY PRESIDENT TONY TAN KENG YAM AT THE SINGAPORE CHINESE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY INTER-CHAMBER NETWORKING NIGHT ON 14 JULY 2016
Mr Thomas Chua
President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI)
Dr R Theyvendran
Chairman of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI)
Mr Zahidi Abdul Rahman
President of the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI)
Council Members and Board of Directors
of the SCCCI, SICCI and SMCCI
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good evening. I am delighted to join all of you for this year’s Inter-Chamber networking event hosted by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and held on this beautiful lawn of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.
Multi-racial harmony and a rich cultural diversity are the hallmarks of Singapore’s social fabric, and give our country its distinctive heritage. Singaporeans take pride in observing different customs, enjoying different foods, and speaking different languages. We work hard on building mutual respect for each other, because social cohesion is an important determinant of a nation’s success and is something that should never be taken for granted. In Singapore, we are fortunate to have friends, neighbours, colleagues and business associates from every major ethnic group. This has created a strong community spirit, making our society inclusive and cohesive.
It is in this spirit that the Inter-Chamber Networking Night was started in 2011. This event provides a valuable platform for members from the three ethnic business chambers to network and strengthen their bonds of friendship and camaraderie. It also allows members to explore new areas for collaboration that can enhance our enterprise development efforts.
Over the years, I am happy to learn that the three ethnic Chambers have maintained close ties with one another, facilitating their members’ participation in overseas business missions and working closely together on community engagement programmes. Beyond that, the Foundation of SCCCI has supported education by offering joint scholarships with Yayasan MENDAKI to Malay-Muslim undergraduates since 2004. From 2015, joint scholarships have also been awarded to Indian students through the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA). Applications for the SCCCI Foundation’s undergraduate scholarships are also open to students from other ethnic groups in the spirit of an inclusive society.
As Singapore goes through economic structuring and a period of moderate growth, the role of Trade Associations and Chambers, including SCCCI, SICCI and SMCCI, is more important than ever. You play a crucial role in helping your members build up their capabilities and grow their companies, and helping the Government address the needs and concerns of the business community. Several of you here this evening are members of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), and many more have been actively contributing ideas to the CFE over the past few months. Mr Thomas Chua, for example, co-leads a group with Senior Minister of State Sim Ann under the CFE to look at measures to meet the varying needs of SMEs. I would like to commend these efforts, and I encourage all of you to continue working closely together to build a vibrant and resilient economy that creates value and opportunities for all.
As SCCCI celebrates its 110th Anniversary this year, I would like to acknowledge the strong support of SCCCI for the President’s Challenge, a call to the nation to do our part to build a more caring and cohesive society. I am pleased that the Charity Golf Tournament held by SCCCI earlier in May has raised $150,000 from the generous contributions of members and friends. This donation will go towards supporting the beneficiaries of the President’s Challenge and building a more caring and cohesive society.
One hundred and ten years of existence is a significant milestone and achievement for any organisation and I congratulate SCCCI on reaching this milestone. SCCCI has played an active role in championing change and development in the local business community, through key projects such as the Trade Association Hub, where SCCCI is the anchor chamber. As SCCCI enters a New Era and New Chapter, I am confident that you will continue to play an important role in Singapore’s economic transformation, contribute to the continued growth of our local enterprises, and be a strong pillar in building a cohesive society and a resilient nation.
I wish all of you an enjoyable evening. Thank you very much.