Channel NewsAsia

Government is open to everyone's views: Wong Kan Seng

Former deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng said the government is open to the views of everyone. He was speaking at the Bishan East National Day Dinner Celebrations on Saturday evening (Aug 2).

SINGAPORE: Former deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng said the government is open to the views of everyone. He was speaking at the Bishan East National Day Dinner Celebrations on Saturday evening (Aug 2).

“Our MPs and ministers are available in face to face meetings each week at MPS or when they attend constituency events,” he said. “Citizens are able to express their views and gain access to policy-makers through online feedback mechanisms such as REACH and the government's various citizen and industry consultations.”

Mr Wong said the rise of civil societies and lobby groups in any maturing and mature society is expected. But at the same time, he said "we should guard against any one lobby group from hijacking the public discourse and pressure policymaking against the interests of wider community."

He was referring to the National Library Board's recent decision to remove three children's books due to a public complaint. Mr Wong commented that it was a topic that captivated the public. It triggered vigorous responses from different groups, following which the library took a middle stance by moving two of the books to the adult's section instead of pulping them.

Mr Wong also said that the government "acts as a referee when conflicts arise between different quarters of society", and as societal values and attitudes change, the government will "rebalance and adjust its policies."

“This openness of our government and policy makers is a valuable asset that needs looking after,” he said. “It must not be exploited to advance narrow self-interests. No lobby group should be allowed to jeopardise the interests of the majority."

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia