Singapore: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday said the next chapter of the Singapore story will have to be written by the government and the people as he took oath of office, three weeks after his party returned to power in general elections for the 12th time since independence.
During the swearing-in ceremony of the Cabinet at Istana, the presidential palace he sketched how the country must remain special as it looks towards its next 50 years.
"We will debate and argue over what the chapter should contain, how the story should develop," Lee said.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam presided over the ceremony.
"We will do that online and offline, in civil society and in Parliament. That is normal, and healthy. But at the end we are all co-authors of the chapter. We all have to work together, and we all want the story to have a happy outcome," Lee said.
He addressed about 700 people - including newly-elected MPs, diplomats and Singaporeans from all walks of life - at the ceremony of office-holders of the new government.
The People's Action Party (PAP), which has been ruling the city-state since independence in 1965, got 69.86 per cent of the popular vote, its best results in recent decades during the general elections held on September 11. It took 83 of the 89 parliamentary seats, forming an absolute majority government in the house.
Lee, also secretary-general of the ruling PAP said that during the last term, his government embarked on the "Our Singapore Conversation", reaching out to 50,000 Singaporeans to hear their hopes and dreams for themselves and for Singapore.
In the new term, his team will take this one step further "to explore how we will build our future together."
He said the government is looking at how Singapore can continue to create opportunities even in a weaker global economy, and this is an important area Singaporeans can contribute their views on.
Addressing the new cabinet, President Tan said Singaporeans have sent a clear signal that they want to stay united in the face of regional and global uncertainties, and to work with the Government for a better future.
It was Singapore's first general election without late Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister and architect of the prosperous city-state who died in March this year aged 91.
Tan said that while an election can potentially be divisive, it can also bring a country together, and that he was therefore happy about the strong signal from Singaporeans.
"Singaporeans have chosen to place their trust in you because they believed you were the most worthy of that trust. The trust of the people is a precious thing. It does not come easy. You must continue to strive to deserve that trust," Tan said.
He said he was pleased that during the last term of government, Singapore continued to make good progress.