Socio-political commentator Simon Lim has asserted that meritocracy in Singapore became tainted when the spouses of People’s Action Party (PAP) ministers and senior military officials were appointed to lead Government-linked companies (GLCs).
In a Facebook post published on Wednesday (31 July), Mr Lim pointed to a recent quote by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung who had said that meritocracy will continue to be a key principle in recognising individuals in Singapore, even though the people’s faith in the ideology is weakening.
Mr Ong had said: “Although faith in Meritocracy is weakening, the ideology will remain a key principle for recognising individuals in Singapore. Though meritocracy is under siege, it has not failed.
“In the last few years, meritocracy has taken on a negative overtones due to its association with elitism and there has been an ongoing debate over social inequality and stratification in society. Even those who rail against meritocracy struggle to come up with a better system.”
Acknowledging that true meritocracy is a noble ideal and served Singapore well in its early days with the best people being selected to tackle top jobs based on their merits, Mr Lim asserted that meritocracy has morphed into something “more sinister” in Singapore today.
Revealing that he intends to be straightforward, Mr Lim said that the answer to why meritocracy in Singapore has gone wrong and why faith in meritocracy has weakened among the people is because the spouses of ministers and military men with zero private sector experience are appointed to lead GLCs.
Calling on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s government to be “honest with itself,” Mr Lim asserted that meritocracy in Singapore has become “tainted” by the appointments of such people into top positions.
He concluded: “I urge the LHL government and its ministers including Ong Ye Kung to stop treating and insulting Singaporeans’ common decency and intelligence. Think!”
Read Mr Lim’s views in full here: