Channel NewsAsia

Govt urged to better connect with Singaporeans

Singaporeans want policymakers to demonstrate empathy and trust, said Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Penny Low.

SINGAPORE: The Government needs to connect more with Singaporeans otherwise its best intentions may be misinterpreted, said Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Ms Penny Low in Parliament on Thursday (May 29).

Ms Low said Singaporeans want policymakers to demonstrate empathy and trust, an issue that she has championed before. For instance, she noted that the Ministry of Communication and Information has a website that tracks wrongful representations of government policies and corrects them, which not many people know about, or use.

Ms Low said there must be a better avenue for the Government to push out information, when the record needs to be set straight. 

“The untruths that sometimes exist about public schemes just undermine the trust between citizens and government, and dishearten citizens about the shared responsibility they have in governance."

Ms Low also suggested having members of the public take on stints in public service, which could help bridge the gap in connectivity between citizens and policymakers.

As an example, she said the Public Service Division has put in place an initiative that will see policymakers doing operational work on the ground, enabling them to see how policies actually help serve the people better.

"The Government has some way to go to strengthen the empathy that citizens have for public service officers and for each other, and I hope this new initiative will do that.

“There has to be this empathy, the sense of solidarity and shared responsibility among all of us -- the state, the community and the individual; before we can say with confidence that our best years are ahead of us." 

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