Singaporeans mustn't be afraid to voice opinions

I find attitudes such as those expressed in the letter "A time and place to question Govt" (by Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip; Feb 15) dangerous to Singapore society as a whole.

An essential part of any democracy is the accountability of the government, and the ability of the people to question decisions the government makes. Without this, we risk edging towards autocratic or de facto rule.

I find it odd that Mr Tan suggests that it is good to keep "the authorities on their toes", and at the same time add that the sharing of opinions during the Sars crisis would have constituted a "disaster".

While no one disagrees with the idea that we must be disciplined on social media, it is worrying to see Singaporeans too afraid to express their own opinions.

Times of crisis are not times to bury our heads in the sand but to hold our Government under ever closer scrutiny, because the way the Government handles these crises determines our faith in it.

If a time comes that the Government no longer deserves our trust in it, then we must not simply stand by idly and let it carry on.

Faith in this current Government may be justified.

But we cannot be so complacent as to think all Singaporean governments in the future will deserve our trust.

Sound opinions can and should be heard by citizens and the Government.

Even in a society like ours, there is room for improvement.

Dillon Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2018, with the headline 'Singaporeans mustn't be afraid to voice opinions'. Print Edition | Subscribe