Speaking at a Red Cross event yesterday (Apr 21), Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam denied that trust in the PAP government has declined and claimed that the trust is still “very high”. Criticising his critics as “too ideological”, K Shanmugam praised his own government for “ignoring” them:
“Some critics said Singaporeans have lost their trust in the Government, but the level of trust in the country’s institutions such as the judiciary is high. Most of their suggestions are based on methods which have been tried in the West and have failed or are failing. They are too ideological to see that. We have done well over 50 years by ignoring that sort of advice, and keeping focus on what really matters to people.”
Referring to US citizens’ discontentment with the US government, Minister K Shanmugam said that wealth is not properly distributed in the US “unlike Singapore”. The Minister who is ignorant that Singapore have a higher income inequality than US, insisted that Singaporeans are not unhappy with the PAP government:
“The scenario is already taking place in some Western countries such as the United States. Once known as the focus of American industrial development, the US’ Rust Belt states, which include Michigan, have seen their economies declined.
As a result, factories, stores and schools have closed. Jobs have been lost and talent has migrated to other cities. Consequentially, there is a gulf between the Rust Belt and richer areas, creating discontent, disaffection and disillusionment.
There is a growing sense among the people in the Rust Belt that political elites were alienated from the Rust Belt. The people had been left behind, as the world moved on. So they’re angry. You preach about globalisation, they will say rude things to you. When that happens, trust is broken as the people who have lost their jobs see the winners, the elite take most of the benefits, and they seem to be controlling the government. Such a situation, however, is far from taking root here.”
Minister K Shanmugam then continued to praise his own government claiming that it is “corrupt-free” and “caring”:
“Over the years, the Government has won Singaporeans’ trust by ensuring a corrupt-free Government, the availability of jobs, and by caring for the people. These allow Singaporeans to fulfil their aspirations, maximise their potential, in a free, secure environment. That is why over 50 years, people have kept their trust. But it has to be continually earned.”
K Shanmugam also denied that income inequality is a problem, and that it is only visible because Singapore has a “tiny size”:
“In Singapore, inequality can be clearly seen by all given the country’s tiny size — good-class bungalows are located not more than 15 minutes away from rental flats, for example.”