How citizens rank efforts matters more

It is regrettable that Singapore was ranked by non-profit organisations Oxfam and Development Finance International 149 out of 157 countries in tackling the gap between the rich and the poor (Heng slams Oxfam report on inequality, saying outcomes matter; Oct 13).

I agree with Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat that Singapore, despite having limited resources, has achieved good outcomes with the required inputs in narrowing the gap between the rich and poor.

Spending little and achieving better outcomes is better than spending more and achieving little or nothing, as is the case with some countries.

While it is important to correct the anomalies, if any, that led to Oxfam's ranking, we should not be overly concerned with the position.

In the final analysis, how Singaporeans themselves rank the performance of the incumbent government in narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor is more important than that of any other world bodies.

While the Government can be expected to take good care of the have-nots in Singapore, this group, too, has a part to play to narrow the gap.

However, we should also recognise that it is not feasible for any government in the world to completely close the gap in a capitalist country like Singapore, where the fittest, ablest, smartest and most industrious have more and live a comfortable and luxurious life that is the envy of others.

Pavithran Vidyadharan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'How citizens rank efforts matters more'. Print Edition | Subscribe