Singapore—Giving the keynote address at the 15th anniversary dinner of the PAP Policy Forum on July 24, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat emphasised the need for the party’s fourth-generation (4G) leaders to build a “renewed bond of trust” with voters, giving the reminder that trust “between the people and their leaders cannot be inherited.”
The forum is PAP’s arm which engages with Government leaders on policy issues.
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports DPM Heng as saying,
“We know that trust between the people and their leaders cannot be inherited. And the 4G team will have to do so at a time when our politics has become increasingly more contested.
We must evolve our style of leadership with the times, and forge a renewed bond of trust with the electorate.”
He also noted that the party cannot rest on its laurels, especially in times of uncertainty.
“This bond of trust (between the PAP government and Singaporeans) can easily be lost if we ever become careless or complacent.
This is especially so in today’s uncertain and volatile world, where a wave of disillusionment is sweeping across many mature societies.”
Mr Heng mentioned that Singapore today is more diverse than ever and that this generation expects the Government to be responsive to their “needs and aspirations.”
“Our society has become more diverse in needs because our population is ageing and different segments are facing different life circumstances.
As a maturing society, our views and values have also become more diverse. Singaporeans are passionate about a wider range of causes. And we must expect a greater diversity of views and more robust debates in the years to come.”
He circled back, however, to emphasize on how important building and maintaining trust is.
“Trust is shattered and society fractures, sometimes over single issues. We must never let this happen in Singapore.
Trusting one another and staying united even as we become more diverse is all the more critical, given the complex challenges ahead of us.”
In his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister talked about how the party’s approach to leadership should remain founded on “trust, unity and constructive politics”, and explained how this could be done.
“We keep and grow the people’s trust by always implementing policies with the longer-term interests of Singaporeans at heart. Even in tough times, we do the right thing, not the convenient thing.
We must be prepared to take difficult decisions today, so that our future generations can have a better tomorrow.”
He called for the party to resist populism, an ever-growing threat at present, and that PAP should not hesitate to call out those who make empty promises and shallow slogans”.
He urged the party to “not go down the road of divisive politics, along racial or religious lines, or pander to narrow interests. Instead, let us hold ourselves to the highest levels of integrity – clean, honest, incorruptible.”
For Mr Heng, Singapore’s strength lies in its very diversity in order to keep progressing.
“We strive to represent Singaporeans from all walks of life – with support from the broad middle.”/ TISG