Look at bigger picture behind unpopular government decisions

I felt uneasy reading reports on protests and criticisms of recent decisions made by the Government (Silent protest against reserved election; Sept 17).

Before we condemn these decisions as being high-handed and undemocratic, we need to look at the bigger context and take a pragmatic view of things.

Singapore is heading towards its first post-Lee Kuan Yew leadership transition.

Many of the fourth-generation leaders have limited runway to gain critical governing experience. Their learning curve will be steep, amid the increasingly challenging geopolitical and economic environment.

We may seem to sacrifice some democratic ideals in the process, but if doing so helps to smoothen the path towards a successful leadership transition in Singapore, then I believe the sacrifice is worth it.

A capable and successful fourth generation of leaders is the best bet for Singaporeans to continue to enjoy good inclusive economic growth.

Meanwhile, many in Singapore talk about how it is only a matter of time before a terrorist event strikes Singapore.

The risk of tears in our multiracial and multi-religious social fabric caused by terrorists is real and not insignificant.

To this end, I support the need for and timing of the reserved presidential election.

It is definitely a plus to have a Malay president that can do more and be more effective in containing the distrust between the races that perpetrators will exploit.

Lim Teck How

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Look at bigger picture behind unpopular government decisions'. Print Edition | Subscribe