Leaders with resolve needed to do what is best for Singapore and its people
PUBLISHED ON 14 May 2018
Singapore needs leaders with commitment, teamwork, courage to evolve and a sense of mission to lead the country forward.

Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing also emphasised that Singapore needs political leaders, not just politicians, to lead the country. Speaking in Parliament on 14 May 2018 during the debate on the President’s Address, Mr Chan reiterated that political leaders are those leaders who weigh the options carefully before acting decisively and never opting for the most expedient idea or a solution for personal interests or short-term gains.

“It also means not shying away from making difficult or unpopular decisions, but being guided by that resolve to always do what is in the best interests of Singapore and Singaporeans - never shirking responsibilities towards our current and future generations,” he said.

Highlighting that Singapore’s leadership model is to have overlapping generations of leadership teams help the next generation do even better, he said this collective approach provides continuity “in our interaction with others and for us to compete at the highest global level with consistency in vision and execution with purpose.”

Acknowledging that attracting good people to serve Singapore is a never-ending challenge, Mr Chan emphasised that the PAP Government will spare no effort to bring in good people to serve the country.

Mr Chan also stressed that the Government must work hard to develop sound policies for the country’s future and to keep politics constructive. Stressing a need to keep politics “constructive” and not make it just about winning votes, Mr Chan said to win the heart and votes of the people, the Government must work hard to develop sound policies for the country’s common future.

“To win votes by stoking anger and unhappiness may be a common practice in politics elsewhere. This is negative politics and is not constructive,” said Mr Chan.

Opportunities accessible to all

In his speech, Mr Chan also shared his concerns about “social clustering”. He noted that social mobility tends to slow down and social inequality becomes more apparent as a society matures. Mr Chan warned that if left unchecked, Singaporeans may lose faith in the system of meritocracy and that could hurt Singapore’s social compact. Hence, upholding social mobility is a task that the government must take seriously, he said.

Mr Chan added that opportunities must remain accessible to all who are hardworking, talented and committed. Additionally, opportunities must not be tied to academic grades, but also the right aptitude and skills.

Mr Chan also called on Singaporeans to have a natural instinct to defend Singapore and build upon what the country has achieved. He said, “A nation is not just about economic benefits. It is also about the sense of community and contribution. A true nation is one where its people will stay and fight for our future and build it all up even when the chips are down.”

Increase standards to create opportunities

Talking about Singapore’s place in the world, he said as a small state, Singapore's priority is to ensure that it secures its place in the world and remain relevant in the future.

"To remain effective and attractive, we must develop people with a deep understanding of the region and the world, so that we can create value when others do business with us. We must also help Singaporeans - both individuals and businesses - access and penetrate global markets better."

Urging enterprises to innovate and scale up, and translate investments in research and development into new capabilities and enterprise, he said.

“It is one thing to beat others in a competition, it is another to beat our own standards, even when we are at the top, so that Singaporeans have even better opportunities,” he added.

Mr Chan also noted that as a society matures, it usually becomes more conservative and chooses to uphold existing systems rather than break new grounds. As such to be "pioneers of our generation" and to keep up Singapore’s vitality and verve, the Republic must be cleared-eyed about the challenges, he added.

Touching on the upcoming historic meeting between United States and North Korea happening on 12 June 2018 in Singapore, Mr Chan said that Singapore's principled stand on geopolitical issues and neutrality were reasons why it was chosen. “As a small country with an open economy, we believe in a rule-based, connected and interdependent world,” he added.