Heng Swee Keat’s team of 4G leaders will be taking their predecessors’ consultative style of leadership one step further.
That was Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat’s message at the “Building Our Future Singapore Together” dialogue, held at the Singapore Management University School of Law Hall on June 15, 2019.
Speaking to 400 participants, including youth, business leaders, and representatives from religious groups and unions, and leaders from the public service, Heng gave a brief history of political leadership changes in Singapore, from Lee Kuan Yew, to Goh Chok Tong, to Lee Hsien Loong.
Heng said that the trust between the people and the government is "absolutely essential", emphasising that the best way to win Singaporeans' trust is to "first trust you with the truth, no matter how hard or unpopular".
He elaborated how the style of governance in the post-Lee Kuan Yew era had became more consultative and inclusive, during the leadership of Goh Chok Tong and Lee Hsien Loong.
The next generation of leaders will continue in that vein and a bit more, by partnering Singaporeans in creating the future they want.
“We need to shift from a government that focusses primarily on working for you, to a government that works with you,” said Heng.
What does partnering Singaporeans entail?
For Heng’s team, this primarily means working with Singaporeans to design and implement policies on matters such as environmental sustainability, housing, youth, and social mobility.
According to Heng, this is to "tap on [Singaporeans'] ideas and perspectives".
For example, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo will soon be launching a Citizens’ Panel to look at ways to improve work-life harmony.
These partnerships with Singaporeans are not new.
The Ministry of Health’s Citizens’ Jury for the War on Diabetes and the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth’s Youth Action Plan are examples of this partnership that Heng’s 4G leadership wants to expand on.
The 4G leadership also wants Singaporeans to share what kind of future they want.
Expounding on that, Heng said that the 4G leaders will be engaging Singaporeans in four areas in the coming months:
- Remaining a resilient nation in the midst of global instability
- Remaining a city of possibilities through economic transformation and technology use.
- Building a society with more opportunities for people to flourish and fulfil their potential and aspirations.
- Building on a strong foundation of a multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-cultural society to create an even more caring, gracious, kind and cohesive society.
Heng said that he will "expand our democracy of deeds", and build a society where every Singaporean has a strong sense of belonging.
Heng concluded that his team "will listen carefully to all views, and decide on the best trade-offs that will serve all Singaporeans well.”
Top image by Charis Chan.