Channel NewsAsia

Relationship between Government and people must improve: NMP Laurence Lien

The Nominated Member of Parliament called for concrete actions from the Government to allow citizens to become fully contributing members of society.

SINGAPORE: The relationship between the Government and people must improve, said Nominated Member of Parliament Laurence Lien as he spoke at the debate on the President's address on Tuesday (May 27).

He noted that there appears to be some breakdown in mutual trust, not just between the Government and people, but also among the populace.

With the complex challenges facing Singapore, Mr Lien said both sides need to work together, which means recognising that civil society has a bigger role to play in the country's long-term national interest.

He said the Government should show willingness to co-own social issues, with civil society groups engaged to think about national interest.

Mr Lien called for concrete actions from the Government to allow citizens to grow and become fully contributing members of society.

But he noted that civil society actors also have to improve the way they engage the Government. Mr Lien suggested regular dialogues to discuss critical social problems, and more transparency in sharing data and research.

He said Singapore can embrace a more deliberative form of democracy, where representatives meet as equals to propose decisions in a safe environment that allows for debate with mutual respect.

Mr Lien also called for more support for social entrepreneurs within existing institutions, in terms of funding, capability building and infrastructural support.

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