Governments and leaders face many demands and challenges in the 21st century.
The most valuable asset for a country and society seeking to progress and ensure sustained success is integrity.
Integrity is important, fundamental and irreplaceable as the foundation of every government.
We have seen worldwide how a lack of integrity in business and government can have severe consequences - such as during the 2008 financial crisis - undermining markets and institutions, and even costing people their jobs and savings.
In the world of infrastructure engineering, we often refer to structural integrity.
For a building to have structural integrity, it must be built with a sturdy design and solid materials.
Similarly, for a government to have integrity, it must be built on a foundation of honesty and trust, with a strong commitment to ethical action at every step of decision-making and execution of policies.
Integrity requires us to do the right thing the right way, every time, whether anyone is looking or not.
It leads us to higher standards, to be accountable, to be open to improvement and to achieve long-term excellence.
It also gives our leaders and civil servants confidence that they have the right principles to guide their decisions and to create a culture of accountability.
The Singapore Government needs to reinforce the value of integrity among all stakeholders, such as MPs, civil servants, businesses and the public.
This focus on integrity makes trust and cooperation possible and enables us to honestly assess our performance, and continue to innovate and improve Singapore on a sustained basis.
In a globalised economy that is becoming more interconnected and competitive, a commitment to integrity will only grow in importance, acting as the differentiator that defines authentic leadership, builds a strong community in Singapore, and ultimately enables Singapore to progress to the next level.
For this upcoming election, it is important to look at the integrity of our candidates and parties, and vote wisely.
Wong Shih Shen