I am very happy to join you this morning for the launch of our master plan for Jurong Lake District.

More than 50 years ago, when Jurong was just a swamp land, one of our founding leaders of Singapore, Dr. Goh Keng Swee, decided to transform it into an industrial estate. It was a very bold move at that time. Many criticized the plan. They called it Goh's folly. But Dr Goh proved them wrong. Jurong attracted investments, which in turn created new jobs for tens of thousands of Singaporeans.

Later, when the British armed forces pulled out in 1971, leaving thousands without jobs, the factories in Jurong absorbed many of them.

Over the years, we have continued to embark on other bold projects of 'seeming folly' in Singapore. In the 1970s, we started reclaiming land around the Central Business District (CBD) and developed today's Marina Bay. In the 1980s, we moved our civilian airport to Changi and created what is today one of the best airports.

In each of these moves, we have faced our share of critics and sceptics, even as we do today. But we have always stayed focused and maintained our resolve to do what's good for our nation and our people.

We know our infrastructure strategy works, because we are not building for the sake of building; neither are we going for the biggest, fanciest or tallest buildings. Rather we are building infrastructure, to attract more investments into Singapore, and to create more good jobs for Singaporeans.

Over the coming decade, we will continue to push this strategy and embark on a new phase of infrastructure development.

One major project is Jurong Lake District. Here, we are not just building another ordinary district. We are aiming to create a better, smarter and more sustainable centre for businesses, which will provide more jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans.

How do we envisage JLD to be different from existing centres in Singapore? This is where the planners, architects and designers have come together with the consulting team. They have engaged many stakeholders, including residents of Jurong, the grassroots community and surrounding areas, and they have put together some ideas.

First, JLD will be the biggest commercial and regional centre outside the city. The High Speed Rail (HSR) terminus within JLD will be a game changer, and HSR operations are expected to commence in end-2026. It will spur new economic activities and enhance connectivity between Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Singapore.

JLD is close to the future Tuas mega-port and the industries and businesses in the west. It is located between our two major universities NUS and NTU.

It can be the catalyst for Singapore's next phase of economic transformation, in the same way that Jurong Industrial Estate kick-started our manufacturing sector more than 50 years ago. It can become a hub for our future economy, anchored by companies across various sectors, including maritime services, energy, IT, infrastructure and the built environment.

Potentially, it will provide 100,000 jobs. It will not just be a place to work, but it will also have 20,000 new homes, with attractive recreational and leisure options nearby. It will be a lively district day and night.

Second, JLD will be a car-lite and people-friendly district. In Jurong itself, we already have the J-Walk, a pedestrian connector in Jurong Gateway for pedestrians to move from building to building. We will extend this across the entire district. We will improve the public transport network with seamless connection across different nodes. For example, between the HSR terminus and the various MRT stations in Jurong Lake District, such as the existing North-South and East-West MRT lines, as well as upcoming Jurong Regional and Cross Island lines. This will truly be a transport hub, and the stations including the HSR terminus will be seamlessly connected.

We will have a comprehensive public transport network within the district itself. Every development in the district will be near a bus stop or an MRT station. There will be dedicated spaces for active mobility, be it cycling or personal mobility devices.

We are also envisaging a district-wide logistics system with an off-site consolidation centre to cut down the number of delivery trucks during peak hours.

Overall, we are talking about a change in the paradigm of mobility for this new district. We aim to have more than 80 per cent of all trips to and from JLD to be via public transport. Today, the public transport mode share for the whole of Singapore is about 66 per cent. Eighty per cent is truly a stretched target; it's an aspiration, but we hope with all these plans, we can achieve this.

Third, JLD will be a sustainable district. In fact, we want this to be the most sustainable district in Singapore. All the buildings in the district will be energy-efficient. We are planning for integrated district-level systems to optimise the use of resources, for example, through common services tunnel, district cooling system, and pneumatic waste conveyancing systems.

Wherever it is practical and cost effective, these utilities will be located underground so that we can optimise land use and free up valuable surface land for housing, greenery and other liveable uses.

Finally, JLD will be a district of gardens and water. We will use this as a site to push the frontier in our aspiration to be a City in a Garden. We are already in the process of revamping the nearby Jurong Lake Gardens, and we are building the new Science Centre, which will be integrated within the Gardens itself. But we will extend the Gardens into the District. We will add 16 hectares of new parks and open spaces. This will be complemented by vertical greenery on buildings and rooftops. Even the space above the HSR terminus will be designed as a central linear park leading to the waterfront.

One idea that the planners have suggested is to carve out a water channel from the land mass, to create a waterfront promenade for all to enjoy. This will allow us to truly take our aspirations for a City in a Garden to a higher level.

The development of JLD will take 15 to 20 years, if not longer. We will start with the area around the HSR terminus. We are now studying plans to put out land parcels for sale within the next few years. With that, we can create a critical mass of developments once the HSR terminus starts its operations in end-2026.

I would like to thank the many agencies and the consultant team that have contributed to this master plan. Many people have been involved in this project up till now, and I am sure many more will continue to be involved in the years ahead, because there is so much more we need to do. I would also like to thank the volunteers from NTU, Singapore Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic, and our grassroots leaders for serving as guides to support this exhibition.

These plans represent our aspirations, but they are not cast in stone. They are plans that have been put together by the consultants, architects and planners, taking into consideration the views from residents and Singaporeans, especially those living nearby. We want to hear your views, so that we can shape the plans and vision for JLD together.

I encourage everyone to visit the exhibition and give your feedback.

The development of JLD will unfold in Jurong but it is not just about Jurong. It is ultimately about the future of Singapore. And we all can play a part in shaping our future together.

On that note, I'm pleased to declare open the Jurong Lake District masterplan exhibition. I hope all of you will have a good time viewing it. Thank you very much.

Source: Ministry of National Development, Singapore