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Singapore’s Consul-General in HK rebuts SCMP report

Consul-General Jacky Foo says trust in Singapore’s Government remains high, rebutting a South China Morning Post article quoting author Dr Catherine Lim, who said “Singaporeans no longer trust their leaders”.

SINGAPORE: The Republic’s Consul-General in Hong Kong, Mr Jacky Foo, on Friday (June 13) rebutted the claims made in a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report on June 9 which said “Singaporeans no longer trust their leaders”.

In a forum letter to SCMP, Mr Foo said the report, titled “Writer Catherine Lim’s open letter to Singaporean PM fuels social media debate”, quoted author Dr Catherine Lim as saying that Singaporeans no longer trust their leaders.

Mr Foo point out that Dr Lim had first made the claim two decades ago in 1994, when the ruling (PAP) had won the 1991 general election with 61 per cent of the vote, a result which Dr Lim thought was a poor performance indicating a “great affective divide” between the Government and the people.

Since then, the ruling party has taken the country through a number of serious crises relatively unscathed and won four further general elections by healthy margins, Mr Foo added. “But still Dr Lim continues to regularly bemoan a collapse of trust and respect for the Government,” he said.

The Consul-General also said Dr Lim is wrong to claim that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit against the blogger Mr Roy Ngerng will further erode trust.

“On the contrary, Mr Lee acted because the Government prizes integrity as the ultimate source of the trust it enjoys. A leader who does nothing when he is accused of criminally misappropriating monies from the state pension system must engender mistrust in his honesty and leadership. The person making the accusations should have basis for the accusations, and should not be gratuitously lying,” Mr Foo stated in his letter.

He also noted how Singapore continues to perform well on international benchmarks of trust in government. The Edelman Trust Barometer, for instance, saw Singapore score 75 per cent, while countries such as United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong scored 37 per cent, 42 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively.

"It is no coincidence that in countries where lies and false accusations are the stock in trade of public debate, people have a low opinion of all politicians, and a very low trust in their governments" said Mr Foo.

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