In saying Ministerial Committees are not uncommon, DPM Tharman urges Singaporeans to have confidence in the Government


Taking to Facebook, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has urged Singaporeans to have confidence in the Government. He tried to explain that Ministerial Committees are not uncommon and that he himself chairs several of such Committees.

He acknowledged that the PAP-led government had its share of policies that have turned out quite wrong at different points in our history, but dismissed it as a challenge in governance that will never disappear, and is a challenge everywhere in the world. His post touched especially on the integrity of the different generations of PAP leaders and said that they were all men of honour.

Have confidence, folks. I have to say there is no mystery as to why a Ministerial committee was set up to look into…

Posted by Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Thursday, 22 June 2017

Have confidence, folks.

I have to say there is no mystery as to why a Ministerial committee was set up to look into the options for 38 Oxley Road. DPM Teo, who chairs Cabinet on matters to do with the house, has explained straightforwardly why he set it up.

We in fact do this often – setting up special committees comprising a group of Ministers. We started the practice many years ago, and it has evolved. It’s how we ensure that important issues are given in-depth attention, and the options are weighed up by the Ministers closer to the issue, before Cabinet makes its decisions and takes collective responsibility. And it’s how we ensure that we are not a Government that operates in silos, that the national interest prevails even when there are valid sectoral or private interests, and that the long view prevails over the short view wherever possible.

That’s a challenge in governance that will never disappear, and is a challenge everywhere in the world. We have never got it perfect in Singapore, and let’s be frank, we’ve had our share of policies that have turned out quite wrong at different points in our history.

But we have a system of preserving the rule of law, and of policy-making that balances public against private interests, and the long term against the short term, that’s still a rarity in the world – and is at the core of how Singapore has succeeded. Starting with the foundation that Lee Kuan Yew and his team built. And continuing through government under Goh Chok Tong and Lee Hsien Loong and their teams.

We have Ministerial committees on a whole range of issues. They help us think through difficult choices in Government before they come to Cabinet, and to canvas views outside when appropriate. I chair several of them, especially when they concern social or economic issues; in the last month alone I met with five Ministerial committees that we had set up to develop policies on key issues.

Some Ministerial committees may sit for just a few months, because the problems can be sorted out quickly. But there are also committees that have to stay engaged for years – sometimes with new Ministers coming in – such as on foreign worker policies, and funding healthcare and retirement needs.

To give an example, since 2014 we have had a Ministerial Committee on Changi East Developments, to coordinate plans for the airport expansion, its manpower and security needs, the relocation of Paya Lebar airbase, industrial opportunities, land transport provisions, and housing development. It brings several Ministers together, supported by their civil servants, to find the best balance between different demands and plan our options for 10, 30 and 50 years ahead. That’s how long-term our planning has to be.

So have confidence, no matter today’s sad dispute. We have a system of governance that Lee Kuan Yew and his team built, and it isn’t going away. You can count on PM Lee Hsien Loong and all of us in his team for that. You can count on the fourth generation leaders to keep to a system that upholds the laws of the land, prioritises the common good and looks to the long term. Never thinking Government has got everything right, but always wanting to do right for Singapore. And count on Singaporeans to ensure Government sticks to those principles – and to play our part collectively to keep Singapore united and inclusive.


    • That is the irresponsible part of Singaporeans. They would rather believe a lie than do the hard work of researching and trying to sort out the truth from the lies created by the MSM and their masters.

    • There is a saying,……what kind of citizens will have what kind of gov!,…….so…the truth sense is……we had a choice……be reminded!

  1. And still the question on why a ministerial committee was set up for what seems to alternate, depending on what argument the powers that be is trying to put forward, between public and private matter, remains unanswered…

  2. Sorry Tharman the damage is too deep and far reaching…..its better for LHL to step down if not plenty of votes are gng to be lost in 3 yrs times….u guys won big in 2015 bcos of LKYs passing….dont underestimate the feelings of the ppl….many dont like wat is being done to his legacy….if PAP wants to remain in power it has to rejuvenate…no other way

  3. Isnt it the job of DPM to represent the interests of the citizens ? Has he forgotten his due diligence ? So instead of questioning the PM on so many of the alleged lapses (procuring deed of gift, installing personal lawyer as AG and so many more..) he went ahead to defend him ? I hv lost respect for this supposed last good guy of pap.

  4. Tharman I really thought you were different from those other Yes Man but I guess I was wrong to hope that you’ll be any different.. At the end of the day the Whip is still Mightier !

  5. “We in fact do this often – setting up special committees comprising a group of Ministers….And it’s how we ensure that we are not a Government that operates in silos…”

    A group of people from the same party in the committee. Discussions and considerations made in the committee is not public information. This is not a silo?

  6. But when it is a
    chain of mistake after
    mistake, failed policy after failed policy that no other in the region commits and leave you scrambling and you are undisturbed. That is very worrisome.

    • Will are make be honour, respected & truly administered!,……… & legally meant for,……lawyer knows well,….. question about it.

  7. I am now more concerned about the quality of men we have in the cabinet. Not only is it overmanned, they need to work in committees in resolve issues. And Tharman has the cheek to tell us to have confidence in them? Whatever confidence I have is rapidly disappearing. It looks like Singapore is rapidly going down the drain and all the good work done by LKY and his first gen leaders who brought us from 3rd world to 1st will be undone by this and subsequent lots. We will go from 1st world to 3rd. So sad for the legacy LKY left. Perhaps this is the reason why they need to have monuments! :'(

    • I blame this solely on the million dollars ministerial pay. With such astronomical world highest political salary, which minister wud want to rock his boat and jeopardise his High Pay by being the “hero”. End up, they all push responsibility to one another vis-a-vis a self-installed ministerial committee where everyone is presumed to be responsible but actually none. This is the root of the downfall and may i ask, who mooted this million dollar salary idea ?

    • A mil dollar job!,… not ‘he’ !say!,….or ‘U’say!,……is a mil ppl says!………….that is a mil dollars job represents!,………just sensible!……..?

  8. We used to have Men of Honour in the PAP.. people like Othman Wok, Goh Keng Swee,Toh Chin Chye, Hon Sui Sen, Ong Teng Cheong, E W Barker,S Rajaratnam, S Dhanabalan etc but sadly all these honourable men have left this world & the ones who are still living have either retired or have chosen to resign. So do we still have Honourable Men & Women who truly care for the well being & welfare of the Singapore Citizen ? In the words of Sir Elton John, ” It’s sad, so sad. It’s a sad, sad situation. And it’s getting more and more absurd “

  9. Hell NO! Not with those million dollars salaries you guys are bringing home! We expect nothing more than perfection if you’re so highly paid. When you fuck up, you have to go! You do not fuck up with that kind of salary to bring home.

  10. We shall see what he goings to say when the whip is lifted, in a broader content. It right to tell us to have confidence, no government will success without trust from its people, but the question how with some many issue after all these year, so much money have been paid to the mini ster. Tharman can you tell us how

  11. The pen is mightier than the sword. Don’t continue to take us for ride. We are not stupid. The day will come sooner or later how you want to leave behind your legacy. Lky is gone. He left a legacy which has been eroded by the present yes men. How to have confidence in your party when the world is watching us. All this started within your party. Lky forsee one day opposition will take over. Can’t wait for the day to come. Lost faith in you when we think you are different. Guess a flock of the same feather.

  12. It is a sad day indeed. What goes around comes around. Men of such quality will bring us from 1st world to 3rd sooner than I thought possible. All the hard work by our pioneer leaders are fast getting undone.

  13. Tharman then why are you increasing our daily needs when your government is making millions in profits out of our daily needs. Pls touch your heart and talk. Your government is sucking our blood. You want to know, come out and ask the common men on the street and not your RC members. Come out of your comfort and walk under the sun and rain you will know the truth Mr Tharman.

  14. Not sure why Wilson’s quote suddenly rang up… “His style has the desperate jauntiness of an orchestra fiddling away for dear life on a sinking ship” ~ Edmund Wilson

  15. He has too much self-interests to protect. The next person to come out and say something supportive of PM Lee will be Khaw Boon Wan. Just watch.

  16. We had confident with LKY’s team of ministers but not LHL’s team of ministers. Why? Because LHL’s team only care about their million dollars salary and not the people they represented under their constituency.

  17. Hahaha. Soon Tharman will passed the baton to vivian,followed by lim swee say, chan choon seng, yaacob ibrahim, grace foo, desmond choo, Koh boon hwan and all the gundus to defend their boss. Lee Hsien Yang is just watching this clown trying to twist all the evidence. The ball is in hand. He had a lot of cards to counter them.

  18. After so many times and again being played out by empty words, whoever believes those flowery words yet again must be a fool or a cult’s fan……

  19. Those leader’s forget about citizens first when they first sworn in..
    They now trying hard to up keep their position to save their sky high salaries..

  20. The issues are growing day by day and these are very serious.. if the whites are standing behind LHL, then who is standing for us citizens??? who is going to investigate all the points raised by LHY? PAP credibility is at stake.. damages have been done .. a family matter that is now intertwine as part of a govt’s business – how ridiculous is that? Things cannot remain as is .. changes have to be made.. Singapore integrity and reputation is at stake.. forget your million dollar salaries.. someone has to do the right thing – Tharman – are you that person? Country, Honour and duty ..

  21. Men of honour don’t compromise principles to please anyone. DPM Teo doesn’t qualify to be called ‘man of honour’ if he took up the Special Committee Chairman position willingly without challenging the appropriateness of the Committee.

  22. Remember he was once against the white leeches, now he is totally sold out because of his multi-millons $ in his bank. He is well paid as a finance minister.

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