"Heng ah. He remind us not to put the wrong people."
TODAY reports: Education Minister Heng Swee Keat noted that if the “wrong people” are in charge and flip-flop on policies, an entire generation could be set back.
- Posted 22 Aug 2015 15:04
SINGAPORE: Having celebrated its big five-O with a bang less than two weeks ago, the Republic is at a critical point where decisions taken will have huge repercussions for its future, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.
In an interview with TODAY earlier this week, Mr Heng, who headed the steering committee to guide and coordinate the SG50 celebrations, reflected on Singapore’s transformation and expressed excitement about the nation’s future.
However, he cautioned: “I am also anxious that if we make the wrong decisions, what we … have been fortunate to inherit could be squandered very quickly.”
Elaborating, Mr Heng noted that if the “wrong people” are in charge and flip-flop on policies, an entire generation could be set back. “We are poised at a point ... to make the right decision ... to build on this legacy and try to reach the next peak, (or) we may take the wrong turn and land in a different place,” he said, urging Singaporeans to contemplate what they want the nation’s future to be.
With the next General Election (GE) around the corner, Mr Heng reiterated that a post-mortem by the ruling People’s Action Party on GE 2011 - during which it received 60.1 per cent of the popular vote, the lowest since independence - concluded that most of the Government’s long-term policy decisions were in the right direction. He cited, as examples, the introduction of WorkFare in 2006 and the tightening of foreign-worker inflow, which started in 2010.
However, an area where it has to do more is the “communication of policy and in connecting with our people”, said the minister. To that end, public agencies have been trying to identify the beneficiaries of policies and simplify the benefits in its communication with them. The agencies also make it a point to repeat policy announcements to ensure Singaporeans are aware of new initiatives.
On whether the Government’s efforts in the past four years would pay off in the coming polls, Mr Heng stressed that voters should not be taken for granted and that the election is about Singapore’s future and electing people who can take the country forward.
On the kind of political discourse he hopes to see, Mr Heng cited integrity as being fundamental. “Integrity in terms of basic things like managing public funds, in how we can safeguard public interest, and also integrity in terms of intellectual honesty,” he said.
“I do expect that we should be intellectually honest and not say one thing on one occasion and something else on another, whenever it is convenient”.