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Singapore Govt is responsible for the indifference of it’s citizens
Professor Tommy Koh echoed a common adage that Singapore is a first world country with third world citizens, noting that Singaporeans lack the civic-mindedness of citizens from an advanced country.
In a dialogue session with Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait at the Singapore Bicentennial Conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, Prof Koh spoke on several topics from the issues of class in Singapore society to his hopes for the new generation of political leaders in Singapore.
One of the things Prof Koh called for is the implementation of a poverty line in Singapore and for the wages of workers to be raised, noting the wide pay gap between top executives of a company and its employees.
When asked whether there is an alternative to capitalism, the 82-year old said it would be more prudent to consider what kind of capital works for Singapore.
He then talked about moral capitalism, explaining how in this model, companies hold themselves accountable not only to shareholders but to society at large. Companies in a moral capitalism will care for the environment and take good care of their workers while championing diversity and equality, said Prof Koh.
Later on, Prof Koh expounded on the 4th Generation (4G) leadership we’ve heard so much about in recent months. Specifically, he asserted that the priorities of this new leadership should be to maintain racial and religious harmony in Singapore and increase equality in local society with the aim of making it a classless one.
Prof Koh also touched on the country’s aversion to criticism. Specifically, he voiced his hopes that the 4G leaders will welcome criticism from critics who love Singapore.
He explained that the contestation of ideas is a necessary part of democracy, adding that the administration should not blacklist critics simply for criticising the government or holding dissenting views.
He went on to say that Singapore has become more cautious and conservative over the years, but asserted that the new leadership should have courage and not be intimidated by foes within and outside the country.
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