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Politics

This tag is associated with 150 posts

To Build Trust, Move Beyond Disproportionate Deference To The Government

While well-intentioned, the question of how the government can build trust with the younger generation (ST, May 23) and its emphasis on “consensus” as an answer still result in disproportionate deference to the government, thereby disregarding the ability of (young) Singaporeans to independently advocate for policy change – reflected by the many movements and organisations across a variety of socio-economic causes which already exist – and even their democratic ability to shape the government which represents them. In addition to the Youth Conversations, for instance, other groups have had no trouble organising their own forums or programmes to solicit views. Of greater interest and further independent of governmental involvement, it would appear, is facilitating the continued accommodation of diverse community voices as well as nudging uninvolved or lethargic individuals to be a part of these broader discourses. Continue reading

Ground Engagement Should Be The Norm For Politicians And Civil Servants

The recent focus on ground engagement among politicians and civil servants – to “go out and engage stakeholders and Singaporeans” (ST, Nov. 22) and to develop and nurture “a consultative relationship between the government and citizens” (ST, Nov. 22) – is odd not because of its importance in the context of increasingly complex governance demands, but because it might have been assumed that it should be or that it is already the norm. Central to policymaking is an understanding of the problems and how they are perceived by the individuals affected by them, and these interactions with constituents are especially important if the politicians and civil servants hail from different demographic or socio-economic backgrounds, and therefore have dissimilar perspectives and life experiences. Continue reading

Coalition Talk Does Little For The Opposition’s Persistent Challenges

Singapore’s opposition parties need what they have always needed, with or without a coalition: A coherent political message, quality candidates, and long-term engagement on the ground. Parallels drawn to political developments in Malaysia (TODAY, Aug. 5) – especially when they are hastily or selectively drawn, such as that between Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock, should the latter decide to lead the seven-party opposition coalition in Singapore – do not change the formula. In addition to differences in the socio-political circumstances of both countries, the most important distinction is that unlike the opposition parties in Singapore, the component parties of Malaysia’s political coalition Pakatan Harapan have had a much longer and more sustained history of actual parliamentary victory and experience. Continue reading

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