Govt’s long-term approach is one of its great strengths: Ong Ye Kung
Singaporeans take a long-term view and expect the Government to not only understand the trends, challenges and opportunities of the future, but also to take necessary actions now.
Speaking at the Singapore Institute of Directors annual conference yesterday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said this ability to set and achieve long-term goals has been one of Singapore's greatest strengths.
The main criticism of democracy today, he noted, is that it is driven by short-term considerations. But whether a government has a short-term or long-term view depends on what people care about.
"If people have hopes for the future, if people want a government that thinks for their children and the future generation, it will be a democracy that instils the discipline of governmental far-sightedness," he said.
"Fortunately, this is what Singapore has, and it is one of our greatest advantages."
This approach was how Singapore built up its public housing programme and the Singapore Armed Forces.
"Likewise, it is why we are now reforming the education system... and starting to tackle climate change and rising sea levels," he added.
"This is a long-term, 20- to 30-year problem, but we have to tackle it now. People expect the Government to do so."
Addressing more than 800 participants at the conference at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Ong drew parallels between good governance for a company and a government.
He said there is a need for a balance between growth and improving the lives of all stakeholders, adding that there are signposts to tell if the right balance is being struck.
These include how success is defined, the level of dynamism and innovation, the presence of a far-sighted approach, and the ability to engage stakeholders.
He said there is more than a single measurement of success.
"Life is not so simple that it can be boiled down to one number... It is like telling students that the only thing that matters in their childhood is their examination results and nothing else," he said.
"There are no short cuts to good governance, only a ceaseless... journey, to bring all stakeholders together, earn their trust, and work with them to build a brighter future... for (the) country."