Moving Singapore forward

Singapore remains in a precarious spot, sandwiched between two neighbouring states far bigger than it is and having no natural resources, while also being dangerously sensitive to fluctuations in foreign economies.

Thus, having effective governance is vital for the continuation of Singapore's growth.

A few problems arise from the changing political field.

The first is the rising influence of the opposition; the second would be the balance of power between citizens and the governing body.

Although the General Election results this year were very favourable for the ruling People's Action Party, it is inevitable that strong, competent opposition candidates will arise.

Should the day come when more opposition candidates win seats in Parliament, exceeding the quota required for effective policymaking, will Singapore overcome the problem of policy paralysis and continue to approve policies that may be somewhat controversial?

This creeping growth may also lead to the temptation to use populist policies to win back voters.

Singapore can ill afford such policies.

So, the question to ponder over would be if Singapore should stay a largely one-party state with checks and balances - through a small number of opposition seats as well as Nominated and Non-Constituency MPs - or if there should be a change in the governing system such that a rising number of opposing voices and clashing opinions will not hinder the progress of effective policymaking in Singapore.

The second problem to bring up would be the shift in power and autonomy between government and citizens. As Singapore progresses and becomes more civilised, there will be greater demand for more rights.

The time has come to revisit how much autonomy a Singaporean should have. Perhaps, it is time to rethink the boundaries of what can and cannot be discussed and more room be made for healthy, civil discussion between the Government and the people.

Ng Jun Wei