Describe the main principles of good governance as articulated by Singapore leaders Singapore continues to rank high globally on indexes that measure good governance, especially in terms of investment and corruption (Economic Development Board, 2013). Within the region, according to Varies & Partners’ Asia Pacific Investment Climate Index 2013, Singapore was ranked second among Aslant Pacific countries, after New Zealand, for rule of law, political stability, corruption and taxation. She was ranked first in openness to international trade and businesses.
Indeed, behind the Nanking are principles of good governance, which her leaders use to guide policy- making, which has resulted in Singapore economic success despite her unique circumstances. Hence, the role of leadership In carrying out good governance Is therefore, pivotal and fundamental, which will be explored further in this essay. Nonetheless, the importance of good governance is crucial in Singapore, where good governance is needed for the survival of a small country with no natural resources and a multi-racial society.
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Moreover, good governance Is made even more complicated as Singapore is a Chinese-majority country surrounded by its larger Malay-majority neighbors, and increasing globalization with Singapore open economy, has made it Important to stay ahead of competition. In this essay, I will explore the main principles of good governance by Former Prime Minister Lee Guan Yew and Gogh Cook Tong, and current Prime Minister Lee Hussein Long. Fundamentally these principles are all good but reality is much more complicated, when these principles that guide policy-making result in policies that produce certain trade-offs In society.
Even though leaders Implement polices that can produce negative trade- offs, ultimately, the ability of leaders to keep revising polices, to Intervene In ensuring an inclusive society and to recognize the mistakes made and correct them Is also part of good governance. One of Prime Minister Lee Hussein Loon’s 4 principles of good governance Is “Leadership Is Key. ” As mentioned earlier, due to Singapore unique circumstances, especially since she Is a small country among other bigger countries, having good leadership is crucial.
This means the presence of able, quality leaders at all levels, including the institutions, not Just to create visions to unite tizzies and sound policies but also to ensure their implementation, and hence the overall effective functioning of the system. This Is why there has been an emphasis on attracting and retaining talented people in the civil service. There have been revisions made to the salaries, where each occupation is pegged to its direct equivalent in the private sector, if there is any equivalent.
In addition, ministers and senior call servants are offered high remunerations (Hahn, 2007). Potential leaders are selected and groomed and put to test before they take up key government sections. Many cabinet ministers today have gone through years of grooming. This is also in-line with one of Former Prime Minister Gogh Cook Tong’s principles where “a culture of Identifying and grooming talent for public service Is needed to attract the best brains to Join and work in the government. For example, current Labor chief Lime See Say was awarded the SAFE Scholarship in 1973. He served in SAFE, National Parliament in 1994. Prime Minister Lee Hussein Long received the SAFE Scholarship in 1971 to study Mathematics in Cambridge University and served in the army for 13 ears, where he attained the rank of brigadier general in 1983. He served as minister for defense, and trade and industry, before becoming Prime Minister. Hence, ministers are carefully selected not Just based on their stellar academic records but also their honest and good character.
In addition, a leader must also do what is right and not what is popular. One of Former Prime Minister Lee Guan Yew’s (1979) principles is “Win respect, not popularity. ” Leader should not aim to be popular in policies but to win respect, which could mean making decisions that are unpopular to get the results. For example, even though Singapore expressed reservations about the taste of Neater, because they were uncomfortable with drinking water taken from waste, the government took steps to slowly introduce Neater to Singapore.
For example, the government promoted Neater by mixing Neater with reservoir water, giving out Neater bottles to households, even ministers drank Neater to prove that it is safe for drinking. This showed the importance of good leadership with foresight as they knew the importance for Singapore to be self- reliant in her water supply for Singapore to have a steady and reliable water apply thus, her leaders went ahead to develop Neater plants. Having an honest character is a requirement especially in a system that does not tolerate corruption.
Another principle of Lee Guan Yew is to “Stay Clean; dismiss the venal. ” He said in 1979,” Singapore will only survive if ministers and senior officials are incorruptible and efficient as when the integrity of the administration is upheld, foreigners will be willing to invest and the economy will thrive, and when Singapore see that they can hard work and attain rewards, Singapore will work to improve themselves and hillier. ” Hence, there is a strong political will to curb corruption and to punish corrupted officials, regardless of their background or status.
This is reflected in the creation of Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CHIP), which is an independent body that investigates alleged corrupted practices and aims to prevent corruption in Singapore. The fact that the director of the bureau is directly responsible to the Prime Minister shows how serious Singapore leaders are in tackling corruption. The rule of the law in Singapore is evident when PM Gogh Cook Tong ordered an investigation into the purchases of two properties made by Lee guan Yews wife and Lee Hussein Long.
The matter was brought up in Parliament in an open debate, where it was concluded that the discounts were standard marketing practice and not improper. This showed that no one was above the rule of law, including the Prime Minister and more importantly that leaders have to be prepared to be scrutinized to keep the system clean. However, Singapore is not corruption-free. Recently, former head of Singapore civil defense force Peter Lime was charged with accepting sex for favors (The Strait Times, 2013).
Also, former Central Narcotics Bureau Chief Eng Boon Gay received four charges of corruptly obtaining oral sex for business (The New Paper, 2013). Despite the political will to curb corruption, the existence of corruption evident even in senior civil servants has shown that corruption can undermine the government efforts to implement policies, which can affect Singapore’ belief that their hard work and talent will be rewarded. However, the fact that these issues of earnest attempt to correct and right its mistakes.
Hence, good leaders that are palpable are needed to make the right decisions for the country but leaders also must have the moral courage and integrity to build citizens’ trust in their leadership. Another principle of good governance from Lee Hussein Long is “Anticipate Change and Stay Relevant,” which is for leaders not to be passive but open to new ideas, and never to be trapped in the past. The building of the Integrated Resorts can be used to illustrate this principle.
Part of Singapore economy is dependent of tourism where tourism accounted for 4. 1 per cent of Singapore Gross Domestic Product, an increase from 3. Per cent in 2010 and 2. 4 per cent in 2009 (Asinine, 2012). However, as neighboring countries develop their tourist attractions, tourism in Singapore face increasing competition. Moreover, Singapore lacks in natural attractions and cannot compete with other countries in this area. Hence, there was an urgent need to revamp our tourist attractions and create new ones.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, Singapore decided to build the two Integrated Resorts (IRs), namely Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Santos in 2005 even though many citizens expressed concerns over social issues related to the casinos. The integrated resorts consist of casinos, theme parks, hotels, high-end shopping and convention halls and other facilities which can generate employment for locals as well as boost the economy. This is also in line with Gogh Cook Tongs principle of the government formulating policies for the long term good, even if these are unpopular in the short run.
Moreover, Lee Guan Yew resisted the idea of building casinos initially but he eventually accepted it to stay modern and relevant in today’s globalizes world, knowing that Singapore ability to survive depends on ability to attract foreign investment. Since the opening of the IRs, the IRS have bolstered Singapore economy as annual tourist arrivals soared too record high of 1 1. 6 million in 2010(nil, 2012). Moreover, the IRS also provided Jobs for locals and benefited spin-off businesses, supporting 40,000 Jobs in the economy (can, the reallocations).
The economic impact of the IRS is evident through its current contribution of 1. 5 per cent to 2 per cent to Singapore gross domestic product( Ministry of Trade and Industry (MAT’), 2012) However, even though the economic benefits are clear, this policy has equally,or even more important social costs to consider. Up till today, the building of the casinos still generates a lot of debate on the issue of gambling. Many were worried of the moral fabric of society will be damaged when people get exposed to gambling and become addicted, tearing apart families too. STATS ON GAMBLING,) Newspaper reported on (someone who become addicted) Even though the government has put in place several barriers such as implementing the high entrance fee of $100 for locals and allowing family members to imposing a ban on family members who are addicted, several Singapore still express concern s over he possibility of the growth of gambling addiction that can wipe out hard-earned savings. Even though gambling addiction has not become pervasive in society, the social cost can be equally important in the future should it become damaging, which would outweigh the economic benefits.
Hence, by building the IRs, the government saw the need to keep up with increasing competition from other tourist attractions in other countries and stayed relevant by offering an integrated tourist attraction with gambling addiction which can erode economic benefits and Singapore’ hard- earned savings if left to grow. Part of “Anticipate Change and stay relevant” involves the government to be innovative, not passive or reactive in planning and Implementing policies to meet the future needs of Singapore. This also means taking risks and being forward- looking in its decisions.
Singapore leaders saw the need to be self-sufficient in her water supply one day as Singapore water agreements with Malaysia expire in 2011 and 2061. Her leaders did not want Singapore to be left vulnerable and dependent on other countries for her water supply when the water agreements expire. Hence, her leaders were forward-looking ND started the building of Neater and desalination plants that use innovative technologies such as the advanced membrane technology for Neater plants. Hence, the need to be prepared to face future challenges and take risks is important for Singapore to grow and stay competitive in the globalizes world.
As Singapore continues to rank high regionally and even internationally, this shows that the leadership in Singapore has done relatively well in anticipating change and staying relevant. Lee Hussein Longs third principle of good governance is “Reward for Work, Nor for Reward. As mentioned earlier, given Singapore unique circumstances, in that she is small, has no natural resources and open and highly dependent on the Nor, she is highly dependent on the effort and the talent of her people in order to secure Singapore future and her place in the world.
Hence, Singapore need to be encouraged to work hard and to do so, they need to be able to see that there will be rewarded if they work hard. This is reflected in Singapore belief in meritocracy, Inch is a system that rewards people who are hardworking and talented. Meritocracy is especially important for Singapore because she values a corruption- ere and a multiracial society. This encourages people to strive and work hard despite their race, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, thus helping to keep Singapore ahead of the competition.
Meritocracy in Singapore believes that opportunities should be given to all to improve and upgrade their lot regardless of his starting point. This is enforced by Former Prime Minister Gogh Cook Tongs principle of having equal opportunities for citizens to compete and succeed. Through this, leaders can gain wide support and ensure sustained growth for Singapore. After he release of Cambridge GEE results, local newspapers often publish articles on those individuals who come from less privileged backgrounds but still managed to excel.
The National Day Rally speeches also recognize and highlight individuals who overcame the odds and excelled. One example is Dry Ye See Ling who despite being blind, attended Ebbed South Secondary School and Serration J which are not brand name schools, and graduated at NUNS with three degrees, including a PhD in Math. She even topped her faculty then and is a research scientist at A*STAR and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at NUT(Lee, 2013). Moreover, the government also rewards students who work hard and excel in their studies and co-curricular activities through the Dissuade Scholarship and Merit Bursaries.
The latter rewards those from less well-to-do families. Singapore also receive a share of the budget surplus through the Progress Package which includes hand-outs under Growth Dividends (MOB,2013). Thus, Singapore meritocracy system aims to provide an of their background. Through this, people can see that social mobility is possible and this encourages them to work hard, thus ensuring that Singapore stays competitive. Hence, this principle is important because citizens’ contribution is needed to help Singapore retain its competitive edge over other countries not Just the government’s own effort.
Singapore can only stay competitive if the government recognizes and rewards work and there is a motivated work force that will strive for Singapore. Despite the government claims on the meritocracy system, some Singapore have been left out in the pursuit of growth. While all Singapore experienced a real growth in average monthly household income per member in 2012, poor households’ incomes decreased instead(Singapore Business Review, 2013). This is reinforced by Deputy PM Thurman Augmentations (2012) who said that for the past ten years, the bottom fifth workers have not seen any real increase in incomes.
Thus, growth has not been inclusive for Singapore society for the lower income group. Even as the number of millionaires in Singapore is expected to increase from 174, 000 currently to 235, 000 within the next 4 years(The Strait Times, 2013), income inequality continues to increase. The GIN coefficient which measures income Inequality showed an increase from 0. 473 in 2011 to 0. 478 in 2012(Yahoo, 2013). Growing inequality has come about even though the government has given resident households in HAD 1- & 2-room flats the most relief at an annual average of $6,140 per household member.
It is crucial for the government to step in to level the playing field especially for those who are disadvantaged to make growth more inclusive for the whole society. But the government adopts a cautious approach to social Minimalism as it does not want Singapore to be lazy and dependent on the government which will place a burden on government spending. Hence, the meritocracy system believes that the individual is poor because the individual is not mart or hardworking.
In order to receive social welfare from the government, people have to be employed and be more productive at work, retrain and puppies. The meritocracy system places the focus on the individual but the growing income inequality amidst of growing household incomes across Singapore suggests that it the problem is more than the individual and the government should intervene. Good governance in this sense would require the government to rulebook at their growth policies since the trickle-down effect is not so apparent for the lower-income group.
It s important for the government to do so because if the system is not seen as meritocracy as the government claims it is, this will breed resentment among those “ho are unable to achieve social mobility and can lead to instability. Furthermore, the basis of the government’s rule is partly based on the meritocracy system. Hence, DOD governance under the principle “work for reward and reward for work” calls for the intervention of the government to create an inclusive society and make the playing field more equal especially for the disadvantaged even though the meritocracy system still continues to work for most Singapore.
But the growing Income inequality in Singapore questions whether social mobility is getting harder to achieve and good governance in the form of intervention to help the bottom fifth Singapore is important to ensure an inclusive growth and progress for Singapore. Lee Hussein Longs fourth principle of good governance is ‘A Stake for Everyone, Singapore. One way is to involve citizens in the decision-making process. For example, the government consulted the public on the issue of having casinos as part of the IRs. More recently, Our Singapore Conversation is a national project started by
Lee Hussein Long to get Singapore engaged on the future of the country. It involved more than 46,000 people(CAN,2013). Hence, when people are given more opportunities to participate in important decision-making, people will feel a stronger bond between the government and themselves and will tend to be more supportive of government decisions. This is important for good governance because increase participating would mean an increased sense of belonging where the people feel that they are able to trust that the government makes decisions for the good of the country.
Citizens will then be motivated to work hard for the country’s benefit and keep Singapore competitive. Another example is home ownership for Singapore , Inhere Singapore are given affordable good housing, particularly in the form of a Housing Development Board(HAD) flat. The government wanted Singapore to own flat not Just to provide shelter and a sense of security but also as an investment, Inhere it is an asset that will increase in value. Indeed, Singapore ranks last of a Gallup poll among 128 countries which was on unaffordable housing, to which only 1 h of Singapore responded that housing was unaffordable.
By giving Singapore an affordable home, the government motivates Singapore to work hard so that they can repay back the loan to HAD. This produces a hardworking workforce, which drives the economy. Moreover, when Singapore own a piece of Singapore, they also have a stake or responsibility in the country where because they own a valuable asset, they will be willing to defend and fight for the country, be it through National Service or by contributing to the economy, which is important for good governance.
Another aspect of Lee Hussein Longs fourth principle is providing opportunities for all Singapore to achieve their best. Firstly, this is important because Singapore society was first created based on immigrants. Moreover, Singapore has now become multiracial society. Hence creating opportunities for all to excel is fundamental for citizens to be motivated to work hard together to secure Singapore future. Singapore can only survive if ever citizen sees his or her future and that of other citizens as intertwined.
This is done through meritocracy, as mentioned earlier, this is system that rewards people based on their efforts and talents regardless of their backgrounds. Lee Guan Yew also recognized that creating opportunities for all is essential for the progress of the nation as he said that Singapore and their Unwillingness to work hard are Singapore only natural resources. Hence, creating opportunities for all is important because it motivates Singapore to excel not Just for them to achieve social mobility and also for Singapore to progress as a nation.
Since Singapore are Singapore natural resources, meritocracy in the education system is important. For example, students who excel in their studies and co- curricular activities are rewarded regardless of their race, religious and socio- economic background. Moreover, the education system also provides opportunities for students to move up should they do well in exams. For example, if a pupil from the ME 3 stream does well in the Primary School Leaving Examination, the pupil can go to express stream in secondary school.
Students are also given opportunities to academic to express. Pupils who go to the Institute of Technical Education (TIE) can also go to polytechnic and university if they do well. Although the routes may be longer for some, there are opportunities within the system to move up should students excel. In addition, the government has created more diverse opportunities by opening up more avenues for people to pursue their interests.
For example, schools like Losable College of the Arts and Singapore Sports School allow students to develop their talents in the arts and sports. Hence, given these opportunities in the system, students are motivated to work hard to achieve their best in their respective fields so that they can achieve upward mobility and this drive helps Singapore to progress. In conclusion, these principles of good governance have guided Singapore leaders in policy-making.
Some good policies were produced while some policies resulted in negative trade-offs but even for both types of outcomes, good governance is shown in the revision and improvement of policies for Singapore. Moreover, good governance that is led by a competent leadership in the government and institutions, also inspires and enables Singapore to see its vision for the country and motivates everyone to work together to achieve the country’s goals, thus helping leaders achieve good governance and at the same time, keeping Singapore competitive by securing her future.