In dramatic terms, Ms Catherine Lim announced that "we are in the midst of a crisis where the people no longer trust their government" and "the Government no longer cares".
After being challenged, Ms Lim now admits the mistrust may involve only "a minority" ("Government has achieved much, but trust remains an issue"; Monday).
It appears that Ms Lim cannot be trusted to be consistent in her own statements. Perhaps she should have started with a more positive view of Singaporeans.
Contrary to her characterisation, Singaporeans do not as a rule behave like angry children.
In my interactions with residents, I have found thoughtful feedback to be the norm. Indeed, my colleagues and I strive to engage our voters precisely so we can incorporate their considered, decent and reasonable views into policymaking.
Maintaining trust between Government and the people is a never-ending process.
For half a century now, this Government has chosen the path that leads to better outcomes in the long term, often despite temporary pain.
In the short run, this may draw on the goodwill between the Government and the people. But as our policies work, both trust and goodwill are rebuilt and strengthened.
No government in the world can only do things that all voters approve of and never encounter any problems or cause any pain.
Even Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India, freshly elected with a massive mandate, has said: "I am well aware my steps may dent the immense love the country has given me.
"But when my countrymen realise these steps will result in getting financial health back, I will regain that love." ("Modi's big plans and bigger challenges"; Monday.)
Maintaining trust also requires us to protect the integrity of the system.
We must defend ourselves robustly against sweeping attacks on our nation, our government, our people or our leaders.
We may not convince the few who hold on to their views despite overwhelming, objective evidence.
But the majority of Singaporeans do not want our nation's reputation tarnished and do not deserve to have their views warped by jaundiced commentators on the sidelines.
Janil Puthucheary (Dr)
Member of Parliament
Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC
This article was first published on June 19, 2014.
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