Letter of the week #3: Well-informed citizenry needed for consultative governing style

While I commend Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat's desire to have a more collaborative government, I trust that it will not affect the effectiveness and efficiency of the Government (4G leaders will partner citizens in policymaking, June 16).

The bedrock of a sound democratic system depends on an objective, mature, balanced, pragmatic and well-informed citizenry.

To have a more constructive discussion, we need to educate, or even re-educate, the people on how to conduct thorough research and think critically.

Every policy has downsides, trade-offs, and intended and unintended consequences, and there will be people who will benefit more from every policy, and others who may have to sacrifice for the greater good of the country.

Therefore, the people must learn how to weigh different options and respond to the concerns of those who do not benefit from any policy, and resolve any potential negative effects. They should also be able to propose better-informed and evidence-based recommendations to strengthen the country.

On the other hand, the 4G leaders have to spend adequate time to not only craft effective policies but also conduct public consultations and communicate the rationale and values of the policies.

If there isn't buy-in and support, people may not actively participate in promoting and carrying out the policies.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)