Ensure that S'poreans have equal chances

Office workers walking across Raffles Quay.
Office workers walking across Raffles Quay. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

I appreciate Mr Yaron Brook and Mr Don Watkins' free market approach to solving inequality, however, I was disappointed that they did not recommend any specific policy to tackle Singapore's inequality problem (Why we should care less about inequality in S'pore, June 1).

Instead of stopping at a rallying cry, they could have contributed ideas in line with their free market beliefs to help us overcome our difficulties.

For example, are there any taxes that can be reduced or any institutional structures and processes eliminated to allow currently underperforming Singaporeans a better chance of developing their potential?

Singapore has never had a completely free market economy. Given our small market, the Government has had to play a significant role in our economic development.

Singaporeans fully understand the dangers of the politics of envy and anger. We are not about to hold back our high-performing and enterprising countrymen from scaling greater heights in their economic pursuits.

We are also an open society that welcomes foreigners to achieve economic results together with us.

But in turn, the Government has to take more decisive actions to restore the balance in the system which may have deviated from the original course due to globalisation and technological disruptions.

The social cohesiveness that has been painstakingly built up over the years must be cherished, and we do not want inequality to drive a wedge into our young society.

At the end of the day, we are philosophically aligned with Mr Brook and Mr Watkins because we believe in equal chances but not equal outcomes.

Leong Mun Wai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Ensure that S'poreans have equal chances'. Print Edition | Subscribe