SINGAPORE - Politicians who give "goodies" away to win votes, with little thought of how they would pay for such goodies, risk not only insolvency, but turning citizens cynical against politics, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Monday.
"Democracy of that manner must lead to insolvency and eventually political cynicism," he said, underscoring an important principle the Government held to even as it tried to make Singapore cleaner, greener and more comfortable for all.
He added that the three other principles that helped the Government achieve all that were: spending within one's means and saving when times were good; staying open to trade, talent and ideas; and enabling more citizens to be educated and trained to be employable in a fast-changing world.
He said all this during a discussion with two other international leaders on shaping quality city living, as part of three summits here on managing cities, water and environmental hygiene.
The three summits are World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore.
The two other leaders mulling the challenges of city living were Mexican thinker Angel Gurria, who is secretary-general of the developed world body the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and Frenchman Jean-Louis Chaussade, the chief executive of water and waste management specialists Suez Environment.
When Singapore's ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh, the discussion'[s moderator, asked Mr Khaw what he thought of the view that Singapore was paradise on Earth, the minister said: "As a government, we take a more practical approach; we dare not promise paradise.
"We try to make Singapore an enduring home for all Singaporeans."