Singapore – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong released a letter addressed to all People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament (MPs) advising them to not use social media as a means to attack another person.
PM Lee released the letter, “Rules of Prudence,” to the media on Saturday (August 1), a tradition practiced after every general election. “The context each time may be different, but the subject remains constant. Integrity, honesty and incorruptibility are fundamental to our party,” he said. “We must never tire of reminding ourselves of their importance.”
He noted that the PAP now had a mandate to “take Singapore forward, through the (Covid-19) crisis and beyond,” after winning 83 out of 93 seats with a 61.2 per cent vote share. “Now we must work with Singaporeans to keep COVID-19 in check, protect jobs and livelihoods, and make sure everyone comes through safely together,” said PM Lee. He reminded the MPs that they were “servants of the people, not masters,” and urged them to listen closely to the concerns of Singaporeans and help them tackle pressing needs.
Uphold reputation and separate business and politics
PM Lee advised PAP MPs to uphold the PAP’s reputation for a clean and incorruptible government, which is one of their most precious assets. “Never give cause for allegations that you are misusing your position, especially your access to Ministers,” he said, as such actions would discredit both the MP and the party.
Furthermore, PM Lee called for a clear distinction between an MPs public political position from their private, professional or business roles. “You must not exploit your public position as Government MPs, your close contacts with the Ministers, or your access to government departments and civil servants, for your personal interest or the benefit of your employers,” he said.
Use social media to let the public know about your work
Given the role of social media in everyone’s daily lives, “by all means, use it to let the public know about your work, or get to know your views better,” said PM Lee. He encouraged the MPs to “have some fun with the medium and try out different platforms,” without forgetting to observe proper decorum and accountability.
“Be honest, empathetic, positive and affirming in all your messages. Know your audience and be sensitive to how they feel,” he said. “Do not use social media to attack another person.” PM Lee advised the MPs to avoid ending up in long and extended engagement online because they also needed to interact with the residents and attend to their concerns in person.
He encouraged new MPs to pick up the dos and don’ts from older MPs. “Always conduct yourselves with modesty, decorum and dignity, particularly in the media.” PM Lee noted he was disclosing the letter to the media “so that the public knows the high standards we demand of PAP MPs.”