Forum: Singapore must now reinvent itself

A view of the Singapore skyline as seen on June 7, 2020.
A view of the Singapore skyline as seen on June 7, 2020.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

I applaud Straits Times editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang for calling on the Government to provide fresh, inspiring leadership "guided by a clear sense of moral purpose" as Singapore battles for survival in the post-Covid-19 era. (Towards a fair and just S'pore in brave new world, Aug 2).

Post-GE2020, Singaporeans cannot be faulted for feeling perplexed, frustrated and uninspired. As hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans suffer from pay cuts, job losses and ruined businesses, government actions seem to emphasise continuity rather than change.

As Mr Han pointed out, there are currently too many areas of unequal opportunities in Singapore. Against this background of social divide, the Government must respond with fresh, inspirational leadership and a strong moral purpose, which can provide sincere compassion and empathy to all distressed Singaporeans.

The Covid-19 crisis offers an opportunity to re-examine all existing policies and strategies to assess their efficacy. Policies and strategies which have served us well in the past may have to be revised to better suit the new landscape, or even abandoned completely.

For example, has our education system failed to equip Singaporeans with the right skills, resulting in the heavy reliance on foreign talent? Are immigration policies in need of change? How should we grow the future economy? Are government-linked companies still relevant?

Certain decades-old systems might have outlived their purposes, such as the certificate of entitlement, instituted in 1990 when there was no Electronic Road Pricing.

Singapore must now reinvent itself for survival in the decades ahead.

Ang Ah Lay

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2020, with the headline 'Singapore must now reinvent itself'. Print Edition | Subscribe