Even though the Party has governed Singapore since independence, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong is well aware that it doesn’t mean the Party will get a free pass.
In fact, the Party has to work even harder to win the confidence and trust of citizens.
“Just because the PAP has governed Singapore since independence does not mean it will always do so. Instead, we will have to work hard, even harder, to win the confidence and trust of citizens – to secure the mandate to govern, and to prove that we can govern well.”
He was speaking to 800 public service officers at the annual Public Service Leadership ceremony on Nov 1, urging them to be forthright in their views and not propose solutions that are politically convenient.
Political contestation in Singapore is here to stay and will likely become more intense over time, he added.
In the press conference announcing DPM Wong’s leadership of the 4G team this April, he said a similar message that the Party does not assume that it will win the next general election.
“Every GE from now on will be about which party will form the government, not just how many seats the opposition wins or what percentage of the votes the ruling party gets,” he said then.
Doing right by Singapore and Singaporeans
DPM Wong also assured that decisions made by the political leadership will always be driven by a full commitment to do what is right for Singapore and Singaporeans without forgoing Party values.
“We will never compromise on our key principles and values. We will not allow populist politics, race politics, or money politics to take root in Singapore.”
To do this, he added that the leadership must continue to be upfront with Singaporeans — even on issues that may not be popular.
“We will continue to tackle problems head-on instead of taking the expedient way, kicking them down the road, or allowing them to fester and grow,” he added.
Thus underlining the importance of a close partnership between political leaders and Public Service.
He cited the example of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) where it operated with incomplete information amidst a highly fluid situation.
But through it all, the MTF knew it could rely on the Public Service as the team presented assessments and views objectively, without fear or favour and without second guessing what the MTF wanted, he added.
“So as we navigate the highly volatile and uncertain world ahead, this close partnership between the Political Leadership and Public Service will become all the more important.”
Cover photo credit: PMO