Forum: Citizens must be involved in political processes

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is right to say that political leadership is vital to Singapore's success (Political leadership vital to Singapore's success: PM Lee, Jan 18).

He is also right in saying that a competent civil service may be able to keep the country going on autopilot for some time, even if its politics are divided, or its political leaders are well meaning but mediocre.

Singapore's journey to self-rule - from being a colony to an independent nation - bears this out.

The People's Action Party came into power on one prominent promise to the people: a clean and uncorrupt government. That was the distinctive hallmark that led to Singapore's success, with the people fully cooperating with the founding leaders.

Had Singapore not inherited a competent civil service from the British, I wonder if the founding fathers would not have had it tougher.

All things being equal, a competent and uncorrupt civil service is the vital precondition for a country to succeed.

As a democracy, no political leadership has the monopoly on power. Any time a political leadership is seen as incompetent or corrupt, change must take place in a well-run democracy.

In other words, citizens in a democracy must be mature and involved intimately in the political processes of the nation.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)