Govt refutes author's claims over public trust

Govt refutes author's claims over public trust
Mr Jacky Foo said Ms Catherine Lim (above) is wrong in asserting that Singaporeans "no longer trust their government".

SINGAPORE - The Government has refuted author Catherine Lim's claim in an open letter to the Prime Minister that Singaporeans no longer trust it.

The level of trust remains high, it said, as it has done much to improve people's lives, including addressing problems of income inequality, slowing social mobility and the middle-income squeeze in a "sustainable and responsible" way.

An international trust barometer has also found that a considerably higher proportion of Singaporeans trust their government than do people in the United States, Britain or Hong Kong.

The Government's response came in a letter from Singapore's Consul-General in Hong Kong Jacky Foo to the South China Morning Post after it reported on Ms Lim's open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In the letter posted on her blog last Saturday, Ms Lim said the people of Singapore "no longer trust their government, and the government no longer cares about regaining their trust".

It was shared widely on social media, and some news outlets picked up the story.

Mr Foo pointed out that this was not the first time Ms Lim had made such assertions about the relationship between Singapore's Government and people.

In his letter, published in the Hong Kong newspaper yesterday, he said that in 1994 too, she had "spied a great affective divide" after what she saw as the People's Action Party's poor performance in the 1991 General Election.

The PAP had won that election with 61 per cent of the vote. Ms Lim had written about the "affective divide" in a commentary published in this newspaper.

Mr Foo said that since 1994, the PAP had "taken Singapore through a number of serious crises relatively unscathed". These include the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the outbreak of Sars in 2003 and the 2008 global financial crisis.

It also won four further general elections by "healthy margins". "But still Ms Lim continues to regularly bemoan a collapse of trust and respect for the Government," he said.

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