Strict rules still needed for S'pore to thrive

We have enjoyed 50 years of Singapore with former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Can we stay the same for the next 50?

As a young Singaporean, I am thankful to be living the Lee Kuan Yew dream.

His authoritarian style left many unhappy but was necessary for the survival of an abandoned nation in 1965.

The nation benefited from his hard-handed policies that he had deemed right.

They have shaped Singapore into the First World country we enjoy today - a privilege we cannot take for granted.

Today, we continue to be a vulnerable country with no resources, and we rely on economic activity and strict governance to survive.

Many have praised Mr Lee for his shrewd methods in developing Singapore, yet, such a style may not be accepted today.

In the same way that harsh (and sometimes unpopular) policies have served us for the past 50 years, strict governance is necessary to ensure the survival of Singapore for the next 50 years, as we have no resources or the freedom for inefficient policies.

But in recent times, some Singaporeans have become increasingly complacent and are pushing for liberal policies, which may work in other countries but not here.

As we mourn the death of our great leader, we now have to ask ourselves: Given that we are still a vulnerable state with no resources, should we liberalise and implement populist policies, or should we give up certain rights for the betterment of the country?

Looking forward, we need a leadership similar to Mr Lee's to implement unpopular but necessary policies that will guide us for the next 50 years.

Mr Lee's harsh policies were effective in the past and will continue to be relevant, popular or not.

Without Mr Lee, let us not be complacent and let us see the merit in unpopular policies, so that we can walk home safely at night, not worry about our next meals, have shelter for our families, and be the efficient and prosperous nation the world continues to envy.


This article was first published on March 26, 2015.
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