23 March 2016
Multiculturalism, meritocracy, incorruptibility and efficiency — born out of necessity in the formative years of a Singapore fresh out of a failed merger with Malaysia — are among the traits that have become synonymous with the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s brand of governance over the years.
While many of these values and principles remain relevant in present-day Singapore, with its bright lights and towering skyscrapers, there are those that need to be revisited or adjusted — such as meritocracy and the ruling party’s governing style, say political analysts and former politicians.
Back in 1965, Mr Lee, as leader of a newly-independent city-state, was acutely aware of the difficulties that lay ahead. Singapore had no hinterland and no natural resources apart from its people. Racial tensions remained an undercurrent in a society that was fragmented, and largely made up of migrants hailing from different homelands and speaking various mother tongues.
Years later, Mr Lee continued to hammer home the point that Singapore was racially diverse, and hence, its policies had to factor that in.
… Dr Alan Chong, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: “You have to understand that this was not a natural nation-state. The British never designed us to be a nation-state. They brought in the different races for very instrumental reasons … If you talked about the struggle to master the destiny of this society called Singapore, it had to be artificially brought together.”
CMS / GPO / Online / Print
Last updated on 24/03/2016