Asia

PAP must respond to desire for more debate, questioning of established ideas: PM Lee


INTEGRITY AND HONESTY

Mr Lee also reminded PAP activists of the party’s emphasis on integrity and honesty.

“If politicians are venal or dishonest … voters will not trust their motives, cannot take what they say at face value, people will become disillusioned and cynical,” he said.

“They will lose faith not just in individual leaders or political parties but in the political system as a whole.”

There are too many examples where trust has eroded all over the world, he said.

“In Singapore, people expect MPs and political leaders to be clean, to be above reproach in their personal conduct, to be scrupulously truthful in what they say, inside Parliament or outside Parliament,” he added.

The PAP has upheld “stringent standards” and anyone who misbehaves will be disciplined, and if someone misspeaks, the party will insist he “puts it right”.

“The PAP’s rigour sets the tone for Singapore politics. And voters have to apply these same high standards of integrity and honesty to every group and every person participating in politics, and public life, whichever side they may be on,” said Mr Lee.

“Otherwise, we are signalling that we are prepared to lower standards, and this will eventually drag our system down.”

POLITICS “CARRIES ON” EVEN DURING PANDEMIC

Mr Lee said that to remain a high-trust society, Singapore must get its politics right so that the system can deliver results for Singaporeans.

“Politics is about people’s lives and futures and it carries on even during a pandemic. We have to continue addressing people’s concerns, and striving towards our aspiration of a fair and inclusive society.”

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The Singapore Government has “pressed on” with important goals while tackling the pandemic, he said. Listing recent initiatives launched, Mr Lee said that it is improving social mobility and “redoubling efforts” to strengthen social cohesion.

This includes initiatives to uplift children from lower-income families and ensure fair opportunities at the workplace through anti-discrimination legislation.

“These are long-term endeavours and results will take time, but we are moving in the right direction, and we are making progress,” he said.

It’s also not enough to have good policies, the Government must also help people appreciate how these policies make a difference in their lives, he said.

“We must mobilise everyone in order to realise our common vision for Singapore. We have to help Singaporeans make the political connection: All these good things – upward mobility, better jobs and better lives – do not happen by themselves,” he said. “In many countries, they don’t happen at all.

“If you want to continue to get good results in Singapore, we have to get our politics right, you have to support the PAP government, and we must work together to build the nation that we aspire towards.”



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