Invoking the deceased former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s name to shore up his reputation, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat claimed at a public forum in Switzerland on Friday (May 10) that Singaporeans trust his “credible” government:
“For Singapore, the key to fostering trust between the Government and the people lies in dialogue, partnership and always keeping the promises it has made to the citizens. This is a legacy handed down from founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who had said the Government must never, in an election, pledge what it cannot deliver. Credibility is important. What we promise, we must do our very best to deliver.”
The PAP minister who will be succeeding dictator Lee Hsien Loong (the son of Lee Kuan Yew) was responding to a question on how the Singapore government handle people who no longer trust governments.
Minister Heng Swee Keat said his PAP MPs interact with Singaporeans on a weekly basis through the Meet-the-People sessions and mass propaganda forums like ‘Our Singapore Conversation’.
The millionaire minister then said he aims to make Singaporean citizens “take-charge” of problems and not always rely on his government:
“The next round of the conversation will focus on imbuing in people a take-charge attitude when they see a problem that needs fixing. This, in turn, will require leaders at all levels of Singapore society.”
The Deputy Prime Minister then used the example of the unpopular GST increase to claim honesty:
“Trust is also about honesty, even when undertaking difficult decisions, like raising the goods and services tax from 7 per cent to 9 per cent. Some people said, ‘You are mad to announce a tax increase so far ahead’. I said our projection is that we have an ageing population; if we want to keep our healthcare system sustainable, we each have to do more to take care of our seniors. We believe it is better to be honest with our citizens than to say we have solved the problem.”